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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 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 The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Politico Europe, The Huffington Post, The National Interest, The Cipher Brief, Business Insider, Turkish Policy Quarterly, Hürriyet Daily News, Ahram Online, and The Times of Israel, and quoted in media including The Economist, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, The New York Times, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Jerusalem Post, Time, and Foreign Policy.

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 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 The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Politico Europe, The Huffington Post, The National Interest, The Cipher Brief, Business Insider, Turkish Policy Quarterly, Hürriyet Daily News, Ahram Online, and The Times of Israel, and quoted in media including The Economist, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, The New York Times, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Jerusalem Post, Time, and Foreign Policy.

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Istanbul’s Iconic Synagogue Besieged by Islamist Nationalists

21st July 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Istanbul’s Iconic Synagogue Besieged by Islamist Nationalists

Aykan Erdemir

An ultranationalist-cum-Islamist group attacked Istanbul’s Neve Shalom Synagogue with stones and kicked its gates Thursday night. Attackers carried signs threatening to “besiege temples without warning one night” and vowed to “prevent worship” at the synagogue. more...

Analysis & Commentary

21st July 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Istanbul’s Iconic Synagogue Besieged by Islamist Nationalists

Aykan Erdemir

An ultranationalist-cum-Islamist group attacked Istanbul’s Neve Shalom Synagogue with stones and kicked its gates Thursday night. Attackers carried signs threatening to “besiege temples without warning one night” and vowed to “prevent worship” at the synagogue. more...

18th July 2017 – Hardnews Foreign Policy

‘For Erdogan, personal interest trumps national interest’: Former Turkish Member of Parliament

Aykan Erdemir

As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces widespread protests and accusations of clamping down on dissent by using the last year’s coup as a pretext, Aykan Erdemir, a former member of the Turkish Parliment and senior fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, speaks to Hardnews about the ongoing crisis, Turkey’s fate under Erdogan’s rule and the dangers of straying into Qatar row. more...

16th July 2017 – Quoted by Patrick Kingsley - The New York Times

Erdogan and Supporters Stage Rally on Anniversary of Failed Coup

Aykan Erdemir

Less than a week after the largest opposition rally in Turkey in years, hundreds of thousands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters made their own show of strength by gathering on Saturday night to commemorate the anniversary of last year’s failed coup. more...

15th July 2017 – CGTN

CGTN’s America

Aykan Erdemir

CGTN's Susan Roberts spoke with former Turkish Parliament member and FDD senior fellow Aykan Erdemir, one year after the failed coup in Turkey. more...