Akın Birdal

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Akın Birdal (born 2 January 1948, Niğde, Niğde Province, Turkey[1]) is a Turkish human rights activist and politician. He was a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey for the Democratic Society Party (DTP) (2007 to 2009) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) from 2009 to 2011. He is an honorary President of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD), having been its Chair from 1992 to 1998. He has published a number of essays and short stories.


Birdal is an agricultural engineer by training, graduating from Ankara University Faculty of Agriculture, Soil Science Department. He went on to do a master's degree in business at the University of Gazi.[1] His academic career, begun in 1979, was cut short by the 1980 Turkish coup d'état, and for a time he made a living running a grocery store.[2]

Birdal co-founded the Human Rights Association of Turkey in 1986, and became its Secretary-General. He was elected its Chairman in 1992.[3] On 12 May 1998, Birdal barely survived an assassination attempt, when two assailants fired 13 shots at him in the office of the association.[4] The Turkish Revenge Brigade claimed responsibility.[5] In 1999 he was sentenced to 20 months' imprisonment under Article 312 (of which he served 14 months) for speeches made in 1995 and 1996.[4][6] He was adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.[7] In 2007 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the case breached Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as Article 6.1 (right to a fair trial).[8]

In 2002 Birdal was one of the founders of the Socialist Democratic Party, becoming its chairman, but stepped down after becoming Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights.[2]

In July 2007, he stood as an independent candidate in the Turkish parliamentary elections and entered the Turkish Parliament, representing Diyarbakır. He joined the Democratic Society Party (DTP), and then the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in 2009.

He is married with two children.[9]


  • Jaime Brunet Prize for Human Rights (1999)[10]


  1. ^ a b kimkimdir.gen.tr, Akın Birdal (1948 - .... )
  2. ^ a b Hurriyet Daily News, 17 July 2004, Akin Birdal; a human rights defender and man of many parts
  3. ^ Hurriyet Daily News, 31 March 2000, Human rights defender Akin Birdal imprisoned once again
  4. ^ a b Details can be found on the website of the Human Rights Agenda Association in a report called Defend Human Rights Defenders with a direct link to download the report as a word-file; accessed 26 August 2009
  5. ^ "Turkey: Death threats/Fear for safety". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  6. ^ European Parliament, 13 April 2000, European Parliament resolution on the imprisonment of Akin Birdal
  7. ^ Amnesty International, 3 June 1999, Turkey: Akin Birdal adopted as prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, News Service: 107/99. AI INDEX: EUR 44/37/99.
  8. ^ European Court of Human Rights, Akın Birdal v. Turkey (no. 47520/99)
  9. ^ "Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi 23. Dönem Milletvekili". Grand National Assembly of Turkey. 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  10. ^ unavarra.es, Akin Birdal, Jaime Brunet Prize 1999