Mustafa Akyol

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Mustafa Akyol
Mustafa Akyol (tv 27jul07 21).jpg
Mustafa Akyol, 2007
Born 1972 (age 43–44)
Nationality Turkish
Occupation Writer, journalist, speaker

Mustafa Akyol (born 1972) is a Turkish writer and journalist. Akyol has said he would describe himself as a "Classical Liberal".[1] He is the author of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty, long-listed in 2012 for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the world's best non-fiction book in English. He became a contributing opinion writer for the International New York Times in 2013.

Early life and education[edit]

Akyol was born to liberal journalist Taha Akyol and received his early education in Ankara.[2] He later graduated from the Istanbul Nişantaşı Anadolu Lisesi and the International Relations Department of Boğaziçi University. He earned his masters in the History Department of the same university with a thesis on Turkey's Kurdish question, which he later extended to a popular book titled Kürt Sorununu Yeniden Düşünmek: Yanlış Giden Neydi, Bundan Sonra Nereye? (Rethinking the Kurdish Issue: What Went Wrong, What Next?)


Akyol writes regular columns for both the online news site Al-Monitor and the Turkish daily Hürriyet Daily News.[3] He has criticized both Islamic extremism and Turkish secularism, which he likens to Jacobinism[4] and fundamentalism.[5] Over the years, he has given seminars at different platforms, in numerous universities or think-tanks around the world on issues of Islam, politics, and Turkish affairs. He also spoke at TED, giving a lecture on Faith versus Tradition in Islam.[6]

Akyol's articles on Islamic issues, in which he mostly argues against Islamic extremism and terrorism from a Muslim point of view and defends the Islamic faith, have appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Forward, First Things, Huffington Post, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Times, The American Enterprise, National Review, FrontPage Magazine,[7] Newsweek[8] and Islam Online.[9]

Akyol authored the English-language book, Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case For Liberty, which, according to its publisher, is "a desperately needed intellectual basis for the reconciliability of Islam and religious, political, economic, and social freedoms". Stephen Suleyman Schwartz critiques the author's lack of full disclosure regarding his own family's Turkish history and involvement in politics. He also faults the author for not carefully laying out the facts surrounding Turkish democracy and rushing to conclusions about the country’s AKP political party that are not fully supported by the evidence.[10][11]

Intelligent Design[edit]

Akyol was formerly an outspoken promoter of intelligent design[12] and was identified as a former spokesman for Science Research Foundation (Bilim Araştırma Vakfı), an Islamic creationist group, started by Adnan Oktar.[13] Akyol later noted[14] that he had ended all his "cooperation with [Bilim Araştırma Vakfı]... due to some serious disagreements on issues other than intelligent design." He was also affiliated with the Discovery Institute.[15] He has testified in the Kansas evolution hearings in favor of introducing Intelligent Design[16] and arranged a government-sponsored Intelligent Design conference in Istanbul.[17]



  1. ^ "Mustafa Akyol - Islam Without Extremes". YouTube. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "Learn more about Mustafa Akyol". Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Crisis in Turkey". 19 June 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  4. ^ Akyol, Mustafa (23 February 2008). "The greatest Turkish story ever sold". Turkish Daily News. Retrieved 20 July 2008. 
  5. ^ Akyol, Mustafa (4 May 2007). "The threat is secular fundamentalism". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 20 July 2008. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Spencer, Robert (11 October 2004). "Terror's Islamic Roots". FrontPage Magazine. Retrieved 20 July 2008. 
  8. ^ "Turkish Nationalists Take on the Ruling AKP". Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  9. ^ Akyol, Mustafa (14 September 2004) "Why Muslims Should Support Intelligent Design", Islam Online; retrieved 18 July 2008.
  10. ^ "Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup". Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  11. ^ "Review of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty: Middle East Quarterly". 1 June 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  12. ^ Akyol, Mustafa (14 September 2004) Why Muslims Should Support Intelligent Design, Islam Online; retrieved 18 July 2008.
  13. ^ Ortega, Tony (5 May 2005). "Your OFFICIAL program to the Scopes II Kansas Monkey Trial". The Pitch. Kansas. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. He also has identified himself as a spokesman for the murky Bilim Arastirma Vakfi, a group with an innocuous-sounding name -- it means "Science Research Foundation" -- but a nasty reputation. 
  14. ^ "Hang Time". The Pitch. 19 May 2005. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  15. ^ Akyol, Mustafa (April 2007). "Intelligent Design (and Me) in The Economist". 
  16. ^ "Kansas Evolution Hearings: Warren Nord and Mustafa Akyol". 
  17. ^ Akyol, Mustafa. "Turkey's First ID Conference—Accomplished". Retrieved 16 December 2015. The conference was sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, which is headed Kadir Topbaş, a member of the incumbent conservative AK Party. (Hence it can be said that the event had official support.) 

External links[edit]