Burak Bekdil is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum and has covered Turkey for the U.S. weekly Defense News since 1997. He previously wrote for 29 years at one of Turkey's leading newspapers, until he was fired in 2016 for writing what was taking place in Turkey for Gatestone.
Bekdil also worked as Ankara Bureau Chief for Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC-e television. He contributes to annual national defense sector reviews for anti-corruption institutions like Transparency International and Global Integrity.
James Cuno, art historian and President of the J. Paul Getty Trust, describes Bekdil as "a frequent critic of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan." In 2001, a Heavy Crimes Court in Ankara sentenced Bekdil to a suspended, 20-month prison sentence for his column in which he had satirised corruption in the judiciary.
Bekdil's comments, quotes and articles have been published in international media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, BBC, The Guardian, Reuters, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, The Commentator, New York Times, Kathimerini, National Review Online, Algemeiner, NPR, Washington Times, Die Presse, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Toronto Star, Financial Times, Al-Monitor, Le Figaro, ABC, El Pais, Stern, Al-Arabiya, Helsingin Sanomat, Racjonalista, Defence Greece, Moyen-Orient, Courier International, ISN Security Watch and Coloquio (of Congreso Judio Latinoamerico).
(Born: Ankara, 1966; Undergraduate: Department of Economics, Middle East Technical University, Ankara; Post-graduate: Department of Economics, University of Surrey, United Kingdom)
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Saeed Shirzad a 27-year-old children's rights activist, was arrested in Tabriz, Iran on June 2, 2014. Shirzad was charged with "taking part in human rights activities and collaborating with Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran." After more than 14 months in prison, he was given a trial, but his lawyer was not allowed to attend or to access his file. He was sentenced to five years in prison. Saeed was kept solitary confinement in Evin Prison and later transferred to Rajai Shahr prison, where he was subjected to physical and psychological torture.