Between Consumer Demand and Islamic Law: The Evolution of Islamic Credit Cards in Turkey

48 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2015 Last revised: 28 Jul 2015

See all articles by Murat Çokgezen

Murat Çokgezen

Marmara University

Timur Kuran

Duke University - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 27, 2015


The elimination of interest from financial transactions has been a salient goal of Islamization movements around the world. Its proponents have had to balance this objective, which they claim to draw from Islamic law (sharia), against consumer demand for convenient products. In general they have opted to accommodate consumer demand, but surreptitiously, using legal ruses to disguise their compromises. Turkey’s experience with credit cards offers a revealing case of the obfuscation in question. Having denounced credit cards as un-Islamic, Turkey’s Islamic banks have all proceeded to issue credit cards of their own in order to remain competitive with their openly interest-friendly, conventional rivals. With local variations, the Turkish pattern resembles that of other markets where Islamic credit cards have made inroads. In Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, too, Islamic credit cards function like those of the conventional banks with which they compete for customers. The “Islamic” features of Islamic credit cards amount to branding. Contrary to the claims of their proponents, they do not represent fundamental financial innovation.

Keywords: Banking, Credit card, Islam, Interest, Turkey

JEL Classification: G23, O53, P46, K29

Suggested Citation

Çokgezen, Murat and Kuran, Timur, Between Consumer Demand and Islamic Law: The Evolution of Islamic Credit Cards in Turkey (July 27, 2015). Economic Research Initiatives at Duke (ERID) Working Paper No. 182, Available at SSRN: or

Murat Çokgezen

Marmara University ( email )

Goztepe Campus
Istanbul, 34722

Timur Kuran (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics