Mustafa Akyol is a Turkish political commentator and author based in Istanbul, Turkey. He is a regular opinion writer for various publications, including The International New York Times. (In Turkish “Akyol” literally means “the white path,” hence the name of this website.)
Akyol was born in Ankara in 1972 and had his early education there. Later he graduated from Istanbul Nisantasi British High School and from the International Relations Department of the Bosphorus University. He had his master thesis on the Kurdish question at the History Department of the same university.
Since 2002, he has been a regular commentator in the Turkish media. He is currently a regular columnist for Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s foremost English-language daily, and Al-Monitor, “the Pulse of the Middle East.” Since November 2013, he has been a monthly contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times as well. He also appears regularly on Turkish TV, on political discussion shows.
He has spoken on many platforms, including the Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation, Mont Pelerin Society, Cato Institute, Acton Institute, Discovery Institute, Mises Institute and many universities around the world. He has been featured in popular TV shows such as Fareed Zakaria’s GPS on CNN and Hardtalk on BBC. His talk at TED, Faith Versus Tradition in Islam, has been widely acclaimed.
Over the years, Akyol’s articles have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Newsweek, The American Interest, First Things, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Times, The American Enterprise Magazine , Huffington Post, National Review Online, The Forward, Tech Central Station, Bitter Lemons and IslamOnline. He has appeared on BBC World, Al Jazeera English, France 24, and other international TV channels.
Mustafa Akyol has a book in Turkish titled Rethinking The Kurdish Question: What Went Wrong? What Next? (Dogan Publishing, 2006), which is a work partly based on his English-language graduate thesis, The Origin of Turkey’s Kurdish Question: An Outcome of the Breakdown of the Ottoman Ancien Régime. He has four other books in Turkish, three of which are collections of his essays.
His latest book, Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case For Liberty, which was defined by the Financial Times as “a forthright and elegant Muslim defence of freedom,” was published by W.W. Norton in July 2011. The book was long-listed for the 2012 Lioner Gelber Prize, along with other titles by Henry Kissinger, Francis Fukuyama and Niall Ferguson.
Some Comments on Mustafa Akyol’s Work
“One of the sharpest takes on modern Islam that I’ve read in a long time is a new book by Turkey’s finest political analyst, Mustafa Akyol. It is called Islam Without Extremes: a Muslim Case for Liberty.” – Fareed Zakaria on CNN
“Mustafa Akyol, a bright young columnist for the English-language Turkish Daily News, makes a very convincing case…” – US News & World Report
“Mr Akyol, an advocate of reconciliation between Muslims and the West who is much in demand at conferences on the future of Islam…” – The Economist
“Mustafa Akyol, a writer and columnist sympathetic to, but not uncritical of, the AKP” – Financial Times