Subscribe to FDD

Our Team

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.

Read full bio

Turkey’s Premier Visits Washington

9th November 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkey’s Premier Visits Washington

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is in Washington this week in a bid to mend his country’s flailing ties with the U.S. His trip follows the worst crisis in Turkish-American relations in decades, whereby both sides suspended visa services for each other’s citizens. It also comes three weeks before the start of a high-profile trial in New York of a Turkish-Iranian gold trader and four Turkish officials, who stand accused of evading U.S. sanctions against Tehran. more...

Analysis & Commentary

20th November 2017 – Quoted by Chuck Ross - The Daily Caller

CNN’s Turkish Media Problem

Aykan Erdemir

To survive as a major news outlet in Turkey these days, TV networks and newspapers must stay on the good side of the NATO nation’s authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his ruling Justice & Development Party. more...

19th November 2017 – Quoted by Thomas Seibert - The Arab Weekly

Russia emerges as major partner for Turkey’s Syria policy

Aykan Erdemir

- In a sign of an emerging alli­ance two years after Turkish- Russian relations plunged into crisis, Ankara is banking on Moscow to help Turkey reach its main goals regarding the conflict in Syria. more...

18th November 2017 – Quoted by Ahval News

Turkey supported both sides of the Syrian conflict, analyst says

Aykan Erdemir

Turkey provided money and arms for anti-Assad militants in Syria, while also helping Iran, Assad’s backer, to evade U.S. sanctions, BuzzFeed quoted a foreign politics expert as saying. more...

17th November 2017 – Quoted by Mitch Prothero - BuzzFeed

Danger For Turkey’s Erdogan Grows From New York Money Laundering Case

Aykan Erdemir

From 2011 to 2013, even as Turkish officials were declaring their financial and military support for the anti-Assad rebels in Syria, top officials closely linked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were helping the Syrian regime’s then most powerful backer, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, launder money and evade sanctions, according to multiple filings made by U.S. prosecutors in a case scheduled to go to trial later this month in New York City. more...