Kocaeli Municipality, Turkey

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Kocaeli Municipality, Turkey - Maryland Sister StatesKocaeli Municipality, Turkey - Maryland Sister States









Population: 1.9 million

Governor: Seddar Yavuz

Sister State formed: 2012


In order to deepen the diplomatic bonds between Turkey and the United States that were formed in the 18th century, the successful states of Kocaeli Municipality and the State of Maryland decided to form a Sister City Initiative in 2012. This initiative promotes cultural, social, and educational opportunities of mutual interest between the immensely significant states.


In September 2018, the Maryland-Kocaeli Sister State Committee (MKSSC) and the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) hosted a delegation including the Maryland Higher Education Commission Chairman, Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association (MICUA), and presidents, provosts and professors from the University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore‐County, Loyola University, and Capitol Technology University as part of a broader program exploring business, commerce and trade opportunities between Maryland and Kocaeli (aka Izmit), an industrial region and major port approximately 60 miles south of Istanbul. The MKSSC‐TASC delegation discussed MOU’s between Maryland and Turkish universities for study abroad programs, professor exchanges, and joint doctoral committees.

Bogazici University: (L‐R Front Row) Dr. Sabrina Fu, Professor, University of Maryland‐University College; Dr. Ahmet Aydilek, President, Maryland ‐ Kocaeli Sister State Committee; Dr. Roomina Hasan, M.D., University of Maryland Medical System; Tina Bjarekull, President, Maryland Independent College & University Association; Dr. Zeynep Atay‐Gok, Vice President, Bogazici University; Busra Sener, Coordinator, Turkish American Business Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board. (L‐R Back Row) Ms. Ece Gunay, Director, Office of International Affairs, Bogazici University; Dr. Gun Kut, Advisor to the President of Bogazici University; Anwer Hasan, Chairman, Maryland Higher Education Commission; Rev. Brian Linnane, President of Loyola University; Dr. Philip Rous, Provost, University of Maryland‐Baltimore County, Gunay Evinch, Co‐Chair, Turkish American National Steering Committee; Dr. Bradford Sims, President, Capitol Technology University.

On May 17th, 2018, Secretary Wobensmith and representatives from the Maryland Department of Commerce met with Mr. Fatih Metin, Deputy Minister of Economy for the Turkish Embassy. The Turkish Embassy has been very involved and supportive of the Maryland-Kocaeli (Turkey) Sister State program, and this meeting helped to facilitate more involvement between Maryland and the Turkish Embassy in the near future.

Left: Mr. Gregory Dewart, Managing Director for Administration and Customer Experience, Maryland Dept. of Commerce Right: Mr. Fatih Metin, Turkish Deputy Minister of Economy
Meeting with Turkish Embassy and Maryland officials.
Meeting with Turkish Embassy and Maryland officials.

The Maryland-Kocaeli Sister State Committee also hosts informative booths with traditional food and wine of the region at Sister State receptions. Attendees are able to enjoy aspects of the Turkish culture and learn more about the region.


Although COVID-19 has sidelined many plans, the Maryland-Kocaeli Sister State Committee will continue to map areas of potential growth for the two regions. These include:

  1. A Turkish Women Athletic Competition in Maryland (Turkish women’s volleyball team, basketball team, soccer team)
  2. Women’s Leadership Mentorship Program with Maryland and Turkish athletes
  3. Hosing a Turkish higher education delegation in Maryland (as a follow-up to the Maryland delegation visiting Turkey in 2018)

If interested in participating in any of these activities, please contact the Committee Chair below!


Gunay Evinch – Committee Chair

Email: gevinch@saltzmanevinch.com


Cagla Oruc – Secretary – Maryland – Kocaeli Sister State Committee
Email: coruc1@jhu.edu

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