Atilla Yayla

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Atilla Yayla
Born (1957-03-03)3 March 1957
Kaman, Kırşehir, Turkey
Nationality Turkish
Field Political economy, ethics, civil rights
School or
Alma mater Ankara University
B.A. in Economics, 1980;
M.A. in Public Administration, 1983;
PhD in Political Sciences, 1986
Influences Bastiat • Erdoğan • Evren • Gülen • Hayek • Hobbes • Hume • Locke • Mises
Atilla Yayla
2nd Chairman of Association for Liberal Thinking
In office
Preceded by Kazım Berzeg
Succeeded by Bican Şahin
Atilla Yayla
4th Chairman of Association for Liberal Thinking
Assumed office
Preceded by Bican Şahin

Atilla Yayla (Turkish: [atiɫɫa jajɫa], born (1957-03-03)March 3, 1957), is a Turkish political thinker and a proponent of liberal democracy. He is the chairman of Association for Liberal Thinking in Turkey.[1] He was Professor of Politics, Political Economy and Political Philosophy at Gazi University in Turkey[2] and the department head of the International Relations department at Faculty of Commercial Sciences of Istanbul Commerce University in Turkey until he was fired in 2015.[3] In 2016 he resigned from his teaching post at Haliç University, after the University administration was charged with corruption and turned over to Istanbul University by The Council of Higher Education (YÖK). He wrote articles to Islamist newspapers Zaman and Yeni Şafak and the pro-government liberal newspaper Yeni Yüzyıl.

Life and career[edit]

He was born in 1957 in Kaman, Kırşehir.[2]

As an undergraduate, he studied economics at Ankara University, going on to earn a master's degree in public administration and a Ph.D in political science (1986).[2]

In the 1970s he was involved in Yeniden Milli Mücadele Hareketi (The War of Independence Anew Movement), an anti-communist, -zionist and -imperialist movement founded by Islamist students.[citation needed]

During the 1980s he supported the military junta in Turkey, and praised its leader, the Chief of the General Staff, Kenan Evren, as "... one of the significant sources of hope for the survival of our democracy."[4]

As one of the founders of Association for Liberal Thinking, he had also served the institution as the chairman between 1997 and 2008. He is still member of the institution.[2][5]

He was a visiting professor at the University of Buckingham.[6] He was the winner of the Anthony Fisher Prize in 2000 for his book "Islam, Civil Society and Market Economy".[6] Yayla was awarded the Person of the Year Award by the Stockholm Network in 2007.[7]

Work and views[edit]

Yayla is the author of many books and articles in English and Turkish on terrorism, liberalism, constructivist rationalism, social justice, and Friedrich Hayek.

In a 1998 article "Türkiye'de İslam, İnsan Hakları ve Demokrasi" (Islam, Human Rights, and Democracy in Turkey), he suggests that the human rights and democracy should be implemented by Islamists in Turkey.[8]

In 2006, Yayla was charged with insulting the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk by calling him "that man" in a speech where he argued that the early years of the republic were less democratic than the period after Turkey became a multi-party system,[9] and the cult of personality that has grown up around Atatürk since.[10]

Court case and exile[edit]

Yayla's views on Atatürk and the early years of the Turkish Republic led some newspapers, notably Yeni Asır, to proclaim him a traitor.[11][12][13][14] In a court case, he was convicted and received a suspended 15-month jail sentence.[15][16] Yayla was also dismissed temporarily from his academic post.[9]


Several of Yayla's books are published by Liberte Yayınları (Liberte Publications), a company associated with the Liberal Düşünce Topluluğu.

  • On Terrorism (1990)
  • Liberalism (1992,1994,1997,2000,2003)
  • Liberal Approaches (1993, 2000)
  • The Road to Freedom (1993, 2000)
  • Social and Political Theory (ed.) (1994, 2000)
  • Rules and Order (Turkish translation of book by F.A. Hayek, 1994)
  • On the Welfare Party (with Melih Yürüsen) (1996, in Turkish and German)
  • On Turkish Political Parties (with Melih Yürüsen) (1996, in Turkish and German)
  • Introduction to Political Theory (1998)
  • Islam, Civil Society and the Market Economy (ed.) (1999, in English)
  • Road to Freedom: the Social and Economic Philosophy of Hayek (2000, in Turkish)
  • Guide to Protect Democracy (2001, in Turkish)
  • Statist Mentality and Market Economy (2001, in Turkish)
  • Dictionary of Political Thought (2007, 5th ed., in Turkish)
  • Market Civilization (2004, in Turkish)

Selected articles[edit]


  1. ^ "About ALT". Association for Liberal Thinking. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Academic Web site, Gazi University Archived May 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Academic Web site, Istanbul Commerce University Archived September 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Madenci, Can (2013-06-25). "Atilla Yayla, 12 Eylül ve Gezi Parkı (Atilla Yayla, 12 September and Gezi Park)". 
  5. ^ "Atilla Yayla" (in Turkish). Liberte Publications. Archived from the original on October 28, 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "New Visiting Professor in Economics and International Studies". Archived from the original on 2007-06-24. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  7. ^ "Golden Umbrella Think Tank Awards" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  8. ^ Megalommatis, Muhammad Shamsaddin (2007-06-20). "Anti-Turkish Hysteria from the Financial Times: A Challenge to Democracy". American Chronicle. Ultio LLC. Retrieved 2008-04-15. Suffice it that you learn Turkish and read his brilliant publication "Türkiye'de İslam, İnsan Hakları ve Demokrasi" (1998); you will immediately realize that this theoretician of Turkey’s islamization and barbarization suggested that Human Rights and Democracy should be implemented in Turkey by … the Islamists! 
  9. ^ a b Tavernise, Sabrina (2008-01-25). "Turkey to Alter Speech Law". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  10. ^ Rainsford, Sarah (2008-01-28). "Academic sentenced over Ataturk". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  11. ^ Kaya, Nuray (2006-11-19). "Hain Sözler (Treacherous Remarks)". Yeni Asır (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  12. ^ İnce, Devrim (2006-11-20). "Haine Tepkiler Yağıyor (The Traitor Receives Flak)". Yeni Asır (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  13. ^ Yilmaz, Murat (2008-07-02). "Yayla'yı kim mahkum etti? (Who condemned Yayla?)". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  14. ^ Elidemir, Yücel (2006-11-29). "Hakaretin adı, fikir özgürlüğü (The insult is called freedom of thought)". Yeni Asır (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  15. ^ Daren Butler and Gareth Jones (2008-01-28). "Turkish academic convicted of insulting Ataturk". Reuters UK. Archived from the original on 7 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  16. ^ "Professor convicted of insulting Ataturk". USA Today. 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 

External links[edit]