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Beyond National Unity: The Future of Pluralist Democracy in Turkey
August 30, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Turkey has been scene to mass demonstrations of national unity in the aftermath of the abortive coup of July 15. Some see this new spirit of consensus as an opportunity to move beyond the polarization that dominated the Turkish political scene for the last decade. Others see these spectacles of conformity to be an alarming move toward authoritarianism and one-man rule. What are the implications of the ongoing reshuffle in politics for the future of pluralist democracy and rule of law in Turkey? What are the opportunities and challenges that this new era presents for Turkey’s dissidents, ethnic and religious minorities, LGTBI and other vulnerable communities?
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.
Acknowledgement of Support: This event has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this event are the sole responsibility of The UNC Center for European Studies and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.