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Dr. Aykan Erdemir

Senior Fellow

Areas of Impact:

Turkey

Biography:

Dr. Aykan Erdemir is a former member of the Turkish Parliament (2011-2015) who served in the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, EU Harmonization Committee, and the Ad Hoc Parliamentary Committee on the IT Sector and the Internet. As an outspoken defender of pluralism, minority rights, and religious freedoms in the Middle East, Dr. Erdemir has been at the forefront of the struggle against religious persecution, hate crimes, and hate speech in Turkey. He is a founding member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a drafter of and signatory to the Oslo Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief (2014) as well as a signatory legislator to the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism.

On April 27, 2016, Dr. Erdemir was awarded the Stefanus Prize for Religious Freedom in recognition of his advocacy for minority rights and religious freedoms.

After completing his BA in International Relations at Bilkent University, Ankara, Dr. Erdemir received an MA in Middle Eastern Studies and PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, where his doctoral dissertation was entitled, “Incorporating Alevis: The Transformation of Governance and Faith-based Collective Action in Turkey.” He also worked as a doctoral fellow at Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a research associate at the University of Oxford’s Center on Migration, Policy and Society. In March 2015, Dr. Erdemir was awarded a distinguished fellowship at the Oxford Centre for the Study of Law and Public Policy.

Dr. Erdemir has taught at Bilkent University in Ankara, and Middle East Technical University, where he also served as Deputy Dean of the Graduate School of Social Sciences and graduate director of the German-Turkish Masters in Social Sciences.

Dr. Aykan Erdemir is a former member of the Turkish Parliament (2011-2015) who served in the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, EU Harmonization Committee, and the Ad Hoc Parliamentary Committee on the IT Sector and the Internet. As an outspoken defender of pluralism, minority rights, and religious freedoms in the Middle East, Dr. Erdemir has been at the forefront of the struggle against religious persecution, hate crimes, and hate speech in Turkey. He is a founding member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a drafter of and signatory to the Oslo Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief (2014) as well as a signatory legislator to the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism.

On April 27, 2016, Dr. Erdemir was awarded the Stefanus Prize for Religious Freedom in recognition of his advocacy for minority rights and religious freedoms.

After completing his BA in International Relations at Bilkent University, Ankara, Dr. Erdemir received an MA in Middle Eastern Studies and PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, where his doctoral dissertation was entitled, “Incorporating Alevis: The Transformation of Governance and Faith-based Collective Action in Turkey.” He also worked as a doctoral fellow at Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a research associate at the University of Oxford’s Center on Migration, Policy and Society. In March 2015, Dr. Erdemir was awarded a distinguished fellowship at the Oxford Centre for the Study of Law and Public Policy.

Dr. Erdemir has taught at Bilkent University in Ankara, and Middle East Technical University, where he also served as Deputy Dean of the Graduate School of Social Sciences and graduate director of the German-Turkish Masters in Social Sciences.

Dr. Erdemir has edited seven books, including Rethinking Global Migration: Practices, Policies, and Discourses in the European Neighbourhood (KORA) and Social Dynamics of Global Terrorism: Risk and Prevention Policies (IOS Press). He is co-author of the 2016 book Antagonistic Tolerance: Competitive Sharing of Religious Sites and Spaces (Routledge). His work has appeared in Politico Europe, Turkish Policy Quarterly, Business Insider, The National Interest, Ahram Online, Hurriyet Daily News, and Now Lebanon, and quoted in media including The Economist, Financial Times, Reuters, Huffington Post, The Guardian, and Berliner Zeitung.

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A Turkish TV blockbuster reveals Erdogan’s conspiratorial, anti-Semitic worldview

15th May 2017 – The Washington Post

A Turkish TV blockbuster reveals Erdogan’s conspiratorial, anti-Semitic worldview

Aykan Erdemir

“The Last Emperor” is Turkey’s newest television blockbuster, consistently rating among Turkey’s top dramas since its February premiere. Every Friday night, 1 in 10 viewers tunes in to relive the last years of Abdulhamid II — an absolutist, pan-Islamist Ottoman sultan who resisted the secular-reformist Young Turk movement until it finally overthrew him in 1909. more...

Analysis & Commentary

15th June 2017 – Quoted by Euronews

Spying prison term prompts huge protests in Turkey

Aykan Erdemir

Several thousand people in Turkey’s two largest cities, Ankara and Istanbul, have been protesting against the 25-year prison sentence handed down to opposition lawmaker Kadri Enis Berberoğlu on spying charges. more...

15th June 2017 – Quoted by Patrick Kingsley - New York Times

Turkish Opposition Leader Begins 250-Mile Protest March

Aykan Erdemir

The leader of Turkey’s largest opposition party began on Thursday a 250-mile march to Istanbul from Ankara, the capital, to protest President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s widening crackdown on dissent. more...

9th June 2017 – Global Journalist

Turkey’s Dying Democracy

Aykan Erdemir

FDD senior fellow Aykan Erdemir discusses Turkey's "democracy" and its prospects for the future. more...

8th June 2017 – Quoted by Micah Meadowcroft - The Washington Free Beacon

U.S. Support of Syrian Kurds Has Not Hurt U.S.-Turkish Relations

Aykan Erdemir, John Hannah

The U.S. arming of the Kurdish YPG fighters who are pushing to take Raqqa, Syria, has not damaged relations between Turkey and the United States, said experts at a Wednesday panel at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. more...