Research Team

Dr Yesim Yaprak YILDIZ


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Yaprak works as a researcher at the Contemporary Turkish Studies at the LSE’s European Institute on a part-time basis. She holds a PhD in Sociology at the University of Cambridge, an MA in Social and Political Thought at the University of Warwick and a BSc in Political Science at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey. In her doctoral research, she examined public confessions of state actors on past atrocities against civilians, with a focus on Turkey and state violence against Kurds. Her research lies at the intersection of political violence, human rights, transitional justice and contemporary political philosophy. Yaprak has been working on human rights violations in Turkey for over ten years, previously at organisations including Amnesty International and Freedom from Torture. She worked as a freelance researcher for UN Women, Child Soldiers International and European Roma Rights Centre. She also  holds Entente Cordiale post-doctoral fellowship at EHESS and Sciences Po in Paris.



Dr Zerrin Özlem Biner

Zerrin Ozlem Biner


Özlem is a social anthropologist interested in conflict and post-conflict settings in the Middle East. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge (2007), an MA in Social Anthropology from Goldsmiths College, University of London (2000), and a BA in Sociology from Koç University (1998). Between 2011 and 2016, Özlem worked as Research Associate in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. She has conducted extensive fieldwork on state practices, violence, memory, cultural heritage, property, compensation and justice from the perspective of Kurds, Arabs, and Syriac Christians in Southeast Turkey and of diasporic communities residing in Sweden and Germany. Her recent publications include “Acts of Defacement, Memory of Loss: Ghostly Effects of Armenian Crisis in Mardin, Southeast Turkey” in History and Memory (2010), and “Multiple Imaginations of the State: Understanding a Mobile Conflict of Justice and Accountability from the Perspective of Assyrian-Syriac Christians” in Citizenship Studies (2011). She is also co-editor of the volume Law Against the State: Ethnographic Forays into Law’s Transformations (Cambridge, 2012), a special journal issue on “Re-thinking Post-conflict Resolution” in Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development (2013). She has recently finished her first book manuscript on violence, justice and debt in Southeast Turkey and is also working on a co-authored book on the remnants of past violence in Turkey (arising from ERC funded “Remnants” Project).


Dr Mehmet Kurt



Mehmet Kurt is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE) and Yale University. His research lies at the intersection of political science, sociology, and political ethnography with a specific focus on political Islam and civil society in Kurdish Turkey and among the Turkish diaspora in Europe and the USA. He examines the relationship between state policy and non-state actors to better understand Islamist mobilisation, its political, social, and economic grounds, and its influences on the masses in comparative perspective. He received his PhD from Selçuk University. He was a research assistant at Yale University, an assistant professor at Bingöl University (Turkey) and a British Academy Newton Advanced Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. He recently took part in the Dialogue about Radicalisation and Extremism (DARE) EU Horizon 2020 Project at the University of Manchester, before joining the LSE.

Kurt has published a monograph titled Kurdish Hizbullah in Turkey: Islamism, Violence, and the State (Pluto 2017). He has published widely in both English and Turkish on religion, civil society, human rights, and politics across Turkey and the Middle East.

In addition to his academic scholarship, Kurt has directed/co-directed an array of highly-received documentaries and ethnographic films, including The Seven Doors (forthcoming, 2019), I Miss my Country (2016), and Tandoor House (2015). He is also a regular contributor to media outlets across Europe and the Middle East, including the BBC, Open Democracy, Al Jazeera, and Jadaliyya.