I would like to express my gratitude to all those who gave me the possibility to complete this thesis. First, I am deeply indebted to my thesis advisor, Assis. Prof. Dr. Tonguç Ünlüyurt for his continuous support, stimulating suggestions and patience. It would not have been possible to complete this thesis without his encouragement and trust. I have learned a lot from his broad and profound knowledge during the long hours that we have spent together. I would generously like to thank committee members of my thesis, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Meltem Denizel and Assis. Prof. Dr. Bülent Çatay, whose critical suggestions and excellent remarks have contributed to my thesis. I also wish to acknowledge my teaching supervisor Assis. Prof. Dr. Kemal Kılıç for his endless support and motivation throughout the year. I would like to appreciate the founders, board of trustees, and administrators of Sabanci University who gave me the chance to do research in an academic environment. I would like to express sincere thanks to the faculty members, graduate students an
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