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Analysis & Commentary - Aykan Erdemir

Aykan Erdemir's Latest Articles

17th July 2018 – WORLD

The Brunson farce

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

On Wednesday American pastor Andrew Brunson—unjustly detained in a Turkish prison for almost 20 months—will appear in court. Turkish judges refused to release him after his previous two hearings on April 16 and May 7. more...

23rd June 2018 – The Globalist

Turkish Elections: A Win That Cannot Be Stolen

Aykan Erdemir

Turkey will go to the polls Sunday to elect both its president and the members of its 600-seat parliament. more...

22nd June 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Elections: A Win That Cannot Be Stolen

Aykan Erdemir

Turkey will go to the polls Sunday to elect both its president and the members of its 600-seat parliament. Confronted by a looming economic crisis as well as pressure from his allies on the far right, incumbent strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan chose to call early elections 17 months ahead of schedule. more...

15th June 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State’s Turkish executioner killed in Deir Ezzor

Aykan Erdemir

US-backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) reportedly killed the Islamic State executioner Talip Akkurt, known by his nom de guerre Abu Talha al Turki, who burned two Turkish soldiers alive in Syria in 2016. more...

4th June 2018 – The Globalist

Erdogan’s Hostage Diplomacy: Why We Need a Transatlantic Response

Aykan Erdemir, Eric S. Edelman

An American pastor imprisoned in Turkey on espionage and terrorism charges will appear before a Turkish court on July 18th, ten days after the country’s second round of presidential elections. more...

31st May 2018 – FDD Research

Erdogan’s Hostage Diplomacy: Western Nationals in Turkish Prisons

Aykan Erdemir, Eric S. Edelman

more...

18th May 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Banker Sentenced for Iran Sanctions-Busting Scheme

Aykan Erdemir

A Manhattan court Wednesday sentenced Mehmet Hakan Atilla, deputy general manager of Turkey’s second-largest public lender, Halkbank, to 32 months in prison for his role in a multi-billion dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran. more...

8th May 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkey’s Case Against U.S. Pastor Gets Even More Bizarre

Aykan Erdemir

U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson had his second hearing before a Turkish court on Monday after sitting in a Turkish prison for the last 18 months while facing groundless accusations of espionage and terrorism. The Turkish judges again refused to release the pastor, asking him to return on July 18. Brunson is one of the numerous Western nationals Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is holding as pawns to advance his “hostage diplomacy” with the West. more...

3rd May 2018 – Co-authored by Deniz Yuksel - Providence Magazine

US State Department Report Exposes Turkey’s Human Rights Abuses

Aykan Erdemir

The United States State Department released a report on April 20 detailing significant human rights abuses in Turkey, including the torture of detainees, forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, and the detention of “tens of thousands” of individuals, including members of parliament as well as US consular staff in Turkey. The report marks a turning point in US-Turkish relations since it is the most critical one issued since the 1990s. more...

21st April 2018 – War on the Rocks

Turkey’s Snap Elections: Erdogan’s Improvised Gambit

Aykan Erdemir

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called snap elections on Wednesday, bringing forward parliamentary and presidential elections to June 24, almost 17 months earlier than scheduled. Erdogan was once a sworn enemy of early elections, referring to them previously as “a sign of underdevelopment” and “treason.” While his supporters now defend the surprise as the work of a master strategist, the Turkish president’s sudden change of heart and rush to call elections in 67 days reflects his insecurity. more...

15th April 2018 – The Washington Post

Turkey’s president is holding Americans hostage. Why aren’t we doing anything about it?

Aykan Erdemir, Eric S. Edelman

On April 16, an American pastor unjustly detained in a Turkish prison for 18 months will finally get to defend himself in court. Andrew Brunson, a Presbyterian minister from North Carolina, faces up to seven years of pretrial detention under Turkey’s draconian state of emergency. more...

14th March 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkey Abused Western Dual-Use Technology to Inject Spyware

Aykan Erdemir, Trevor Logan

Turkey’s leading internet service provider, Turk Telekom, in which the Turkish government owns a minority golden share, has been reportedly using web-filtering technology to install spyware on customers’ computers – an allegation the company denies. The Citizen Lab, an award-winning digital freedom watchdog at the University of Toronto, announced on March 9 that Turkish internet users who sought to download popular programs, including Skype and Avast Antivirus, were being redirected surreptitiously to versions of those applications bundled with spyware. more...

13th March 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Prosecutor Seeks Life Sentence for U.S. Pastor

Aykan Erdemir

A Turkish prosecutor today demanded a life sentence for U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson on charges of “leading a terrorist organization.” The North Carolina pastor, who is a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, served a small Protestant congregation without incident for over two decades in Izmir, a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast. Turkish authorities detained Brunson in October 2016, and have since held him in pretrial detention without an indictment. more...

9th March 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Catholic Church in Turkey Attacked – Again

Aykan Erdemir

A lone gunman fired a shot Tuesday evening through the window of the Saint Maria Catholic Church in Trabzon, a city on Turkey’s Black Sea coast. This is the fifth confirmed attack against the church since the assassination of its priest Andrea Santoro in 2006. more...

14th February 2018 – The Hill

Handling Turkey’s Erdogan: What Washington can learn from Russia

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Russian President Vladimir Putin knows to handle his fellow authoritarian leaders; he relentlessly applies leverage to extract concessions. This is a lesson that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should bear in mind when he meets his Turkish counterpart this week. more...

13th February 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Tillerson Goes to Turkey amid Sanctions Talk in Washington

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to visit Turkey on Thursday amidst a breakdown of trust between the U.S. and its longtime NATO ally. Analysts are warning about “a real danger of a clash between U.S. and Turkish forces” in northern Syria. In Washington, lawmakers are calling for sanctions on Turkey with an ever-louder voice. more...

1st February 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Civil Society Also a Casualty of Erdogan’s Afrin Campaign

Aykan Erdemir

On January 20, the Turkish government launched a ground offensive into northwestern Syria, codenamed “Operation Olive Branch.” Ankara’s ongoing intervention in Syria’s Afrin region aims to clear the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian Kurdish force, away from Turkey’s southern border. Meanwhile, in northeastern Syria, other YPG units continue to serve as the most effective ground force within the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition. With the offensive, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not only aiming to eliminate the YPG presence in Afrin, but also dissidents at home. more...

25th January 2018 – The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies

The Limits of Erdoğan’s “Nation”

Aykan Erdemir

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent strategy of allying with the far right and his turn to nationalism are limited by the Sunni sectarian nature of his politics. A closer examination of the failure of his Alevi reform initiative of 2009-2010 reveals the structural obstacles Turkish Islamists encounter in their attempts to reach beyond the Sunni community to coopt Turkey’s Alevi electorate. In a similar manner, Erdoğan’s nationalist policies will continue to exclude Alevis, entrench sectarianism further, and expose the limits of belonging to his Sunni “nation.” more...

3rd January 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Landmark NY Trial Proves Turkish Government Complicity in Iran’s Sanctions-Busting

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Today, a federal jury in the Southern District of New York returned a guilty verdict in a landmark case focused on Turkish efforts to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. The jury found Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla guilty on five of six counts, including sanctions evasion, bank fraud, and obstructing the actions of the U.S. Treasury. In November, gold trader Reza Zarrab, the ringleader of the Turkish scheme, pled guilty to similar charges and chose to cooperate with prosecutors. more...

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...