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Aykan is a founding and steering committee member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief and 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. He also serves on the Anti-Defamation League’s Task Force on Middle East Minorities. He was awarded the Stefanus Prize for Religious Freedom in 2016 and the First Freedom Award of the Hellenic American Leadership Council in 2019 in recognition of his advocacy for minority rights and religious freedoms.
Aykan 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, New York Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Diplomat, The Hill, Politico Europe, The Huffington Post, The National Interest, War On The Rocks, The Cipher Brief, Business Insider, Turkish Policy Quarterly, Hurriyet Daily News, Al-Arabiya, Ahram, The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel, among others.
He holds a BA in International Relations from Bilkent University, Ankara and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies and Ph.D. in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies, both from Harvard University.