Islamic Mediation in Turkey: The Role of Ulema

Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 136-161, 2012

26 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2012

See all articles by Talha Kose

Talha Kose

Istanbul Sehir University

Nimet Beriker

Sabanci University

Date Written: March 15, 2012


In this study, Islamic dispute resolution methods and processes in contemporary Turkey are examined. The findings indicate that the dispute coming to ulema (Islamic scholars who are experts in Islamic legal jurisprudence) forms three cluster types: marital, financial, and those related to fights and accidents. The ulema’s legitimacy is faith and knowledge based, and does not depend solely on professional expertise, procedures, or settings. Transformational, facilitative, and muscle mediation approaches do not directly correspond to the ulema’s third-party approaches. Family elder/counselor, peace- broker, and facilitator/arbitrator are indigenous third- party roles. Their techniques include elements of the mediation procedures employed in western contexts, as well as those originating in Islamic law, such as fatwa, kısas-diya, and providing explanations according to sharia. Ulema do not get additional help from other third parties and do not socialize with disputants. Adelet (‘justice’), mahremiyet (‘privacy’), kardes ̧ lik (‘brotherhood’), and bag ̆ıs ̧ lamak (‘forgiveness’) are concepts and metaphors to which reference is frequently made in explaining the logic and fundamental values of the ulema’s intervention.

Keywords: mediation, third party intervention, interpersonal conflict, Islamic mediation, Turkey

Suggested Citation

Kose, Talha and Beriker, Nimet, Islamic Mediation in Turkey: The Role of Ulema (March 15, 2012). Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 136-161, 2012. Available at SSRN:

Talha Kose (Contact Author)

Istanbul Sehir University ( email )

Altunizade Mah. Kusbakisi Cad. No. 27
Istanbul, 34662
+90 216 5599096 (Phone)
+90 216 474 53 53 (Fax)


Nimet Beriker

Sabanci University ( email )

Orta Mahalle Üniversite Caddesi 27
81474 Tuzla, Istanbul, 34956

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