Özay is a retired Canadian academic of Turkish Cypriot origin, the first from Turkish Cyprus to study at the London School of Economics. He did his doctorate in Economics at the University of Toronto.
In 2004, after 35 years of teaching, he retired as Professor Emeritus of International Affairs, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He has been awarded the University’s highest academic honor by being named Distinguished Research Professor for his teaching and research. Since retirement he has been the Lead Scholar in creating a Centre in Modern Turkish Studies in NPSIA. He is Senior Fellow of the Centre which is funded by donations from the Canadian Turkish community and others interested in a of Turkish affairs in Canada and the world.
Over the years, Özay has specialized in Economic Development and International Economics with special reference to Southeast Asian economies such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Asian Tigers. He has published extensively with over 25 scholarly books and more than 100 articles in top academic journals. Most recently he has written on Cyprus and Turkey. He has also written historical novels. He consulted for several international agencies including the World Bank, UN, ILO, WHO, Asian Development Bank, and several Canadian, British and USA aid organizations. He lives in Ottawa with wife Karen Ann Mehmet. They have three sons and five grandchildren.