Chairman of the Board
Born in Pelathousa, Cyprus, Keço studied at Unıversity of Leeds in UK, but returned to Cyprus as a volunteer when fighting broke out 1964. In the early 1980s, he opened the Grapevine restaurant in Kyrenia, serving British expatriates. He established SPOT, and with it, the first international interest in sea turtles of Northern Cyprus. In 2015, the International Sea Turtle Society honoured Keço with the Ed Dane Award. The award is dedicated to volunteers who do not seek academic or monetary credit for their voluntary efforts but make a significant contribution to the study and conversation of sea turtles.
Born in Pelathousa, Cyprus, Ilkay is an Oceanographer with a broad career working as a consultant for many international and UN-affiliated institutions. He directed the Institute of Marine Sciences at Turkey’s Middle Eastern Technical University between 1998 and 2003. From 2003 he worked at Near East University where he served on the Board of Trustees and was the Director of the Institute of Basic and Applied Sciences, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He is the founding Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Kyrenia, and has been Rector of the University since 2013.
Between 2003 and 2005, Robin volunteered on the North Cyprus Marine Turtle Conservation Project (MTCP), while studying for his MSc which investigated the navigational abilities of sea turtles. In 2005 he worked for three years for the British Antarctic Survey, largely at their Bird Island Research Station where he was a Field Assistant working with albatross, penguins and seals, and Winter Base Commander. In 2008 he returned to North Cyprus to lead the MTCP and began to grow the projects research on interactions between fisheries and vulnerable species.
Damla volunteered at SPOT from 1996 until she travelled abroad for her education. She completed her PhD in macro ecology, modelling species distribution responses to climate change scenarios. In 2009 she returned to Cyprus and became increasingly involved with the management of SPOT, becoming our main point of liaison with local stakeholders. Damla leads our long-term research on Mediterranean monk seals which she has been working on since 2006. She also coordinates several other major projects including Cyprus Bycatch Project.
Born in Nicosia and grew up in Kyrenia, Başak is a veterinary surgeon who studied in Ankara University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine between 2001-2006. After graduating she studied in Department of Surgery for her MSc and returned back to Cyprus in 2009. Since 2010 she has been running her own veterinary clinic in Kyrenia.
n 1992, as an undergraduate student studying Zoology at the University of Glasgow (UK), Annette was one of the founding members of the North Cyprus Marine Turtle Conservation Project (MTCP), invited by SPOT to help establish a long-term conservation and monitoring programme. She went on to conduct her PhD on the marine turtles nesting at Alagadi Beach, managing the MTCP over the next decade, and continues to be actively involved in the conservation and research of marine turtles in North Cyprus. Annette is now Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of Exeter (UK) and she and her group conduct research at many locations around the world and have published over 200 scientific papers on marine and terrestrial conservation, with more than 50 of these on the marine turtles of North Cyprus. In 2019 she was the recipient of the Zoological Society of London March Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation.
Demet Beton Kalmaz, born in Nicosia, is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the Cyprus International University. As an economist she has specialized in environmental degradation and ecological footprint. She volunteered on the North Cyprus Marine Turtle Conservation Project during 1999 and 2000 summers. She took on the role of treasurer in 2020.
London born Turkish Cypriot, Olkan moved to North Cyprus in 1989 and later studied Radio, TV and Film at EMU in Famagusta. After graduating in 2001 he moved back to Cyprus in 2007 with his family where he setup his own photography based business and got involved in local conservation groups SPOT and KUSKOR. He has been a board member and an ongoing volunteer at KUSKOR and has worked and contributed on various photography and documentary film projects both for the two CSOs and continues to voluntarily dedicate his free time to conservation efforts.
In 1992, as an undergraduate student studying Veterinary Medicine at the University of Glasgow (UK), Brendan was one of the founding members of the North Cyprus Marine Turtle Conservation Project (MTCP), invited by SPOT to help establish a long-term conservation and monitoring programme. He went on to conduct his PhD on the causes of mortality of marine turtles in Northern Cyprus, helping to manage the MTCP for over 10 years. He continues to be actively involved in the conservation and research of marine turtles in North Cyprus. Brendan is now Professor of Conservation Science at the University of Exeter (UK) and his group conduct research at many locations around the world and have published over 300 scientific papers, with more than 50 of these on the marine turtles of North Cyprus. In 2011 he was the recipient of the Zoological Society of London March Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation and in 2019, he was part of the University of Exeter team that was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.