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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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Erdogan Builds a Parallel Budget

10th February 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Erdogan Builds a Parallel Budget

Aykan Erdemir

Over the weekend, the Turkish government issued state-of-emergency decrees to transfer its holdings in the country’s major publicly-owned companies to a new sovereign wealth fund created last summer. These holdings include some of Turkey’s most valuable public assets, such as the country’s two top public lenders and flag carrier airline. The move follows the government’s earlier handover of the national lottery and betting rights to the fund. All are part of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s transformation of the sovereign fund into a parallel budget – yet another step in his attempt to consolidate his centralized, one-man rule. more...

Analysis & Commentary

23rd February 2017 – Quoted by Kate Shellnutt - Christianity Today

Courts Split on US Christians Caught Up in Turkey’s Crackdown

Aykan Erdemir

As Turkey continues to crack down on dissent in the wake of a failed coup, two longtime American Christian expats are struggling to stay in the Muslim-majority nation they have long served. So far, they have fared quite differently in Turkish courts. more...

13th February 2017 – Quoted by Amir Tibon - Haaretz

Trump Faces Dilemma in Battle Against ISIS: Turkey or the Kurds

Aykan Erdemir

Last July, in the midst of the presidential election campaign, Donald Trump declared in an interview that he was "a big fan of the Kurds." Speaking about the fight against ISIS on the ground in Syria, Trump said he hoped there was a way to get the Kurdish forces, which have been supported by the U.S. for the last two years, to join forces with their bitter enemy, the Turkish government.  more...

10th February 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Erdogan Builds a Parallel Budget

Aykan Erdemir

Over the weekend, the Turkish government issued state-of-emergency decrees to transfer its holdings in the country’s major publicly-owned companies to a new sovereign wealth fund created last summer. These holdings include some of Turkey’s most valuable public assets, such as the country’s two top public lenders and flag carrier airline. The move follows the government’s earlier handover of the national lottery and betting rights to the fund. All are part of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s transformation of the sovereign fund into a parallel budget – yet another step in his attempt to consolidate his centralized, one-man rule. more...

5th February 2017 – Quoted by The Malay Mail Online

Holding up a cloudy mirror

Aykan Erdemir

After the havoc President Donald Trump has wreaked in his two weeks in office, it is hard not to feel schadenfreude for the superpower that has always acted like it knows what is best for the world. Apparently it does not even know what is best for itself. more...