Does Shari'a Play a Role in Turkey?

16 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2015 Last revised: 5 Jan 2016

See all articles by Russell Powell

Russell Powell

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: August 17, 2015


This essay is intended to introduce my empirical project exploring Turkish perceptions of law and religion. I returned from Istanbul in the summer of 2013, having recently completed data collection. The data and analysis support a number of important findings. First, there was a trend of increasing support for Shari'a within Turkey, and education appeared to correlate (inversely) with this preference more than religiosity. Turks under thirty were more likely to be religious than those between thirty and fifty, and those under thirty who identified as religious were more likely to have a university education. Interpretations of Shari'a in Turkey differed from those in other predominantly Muslim countries. The influence of the AKP in combining commitments to Islamic ethics, center-right politics, neoliberal economics and Kemalist republican values likely accentuated this distinction by validating the consistency of secular constitutionalism and Islam.

Keywords: Islam, Shari'a, Turkey, jurisprudence, polling, law, religion, secularism

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K33, K39, N40, N45

Suggested Citation

Powell, Russell, Does Shari'a Play a Role in Turkey? (August 17, 2015). Pepperdine Law Review, Vol. 41, No. 1101, Special Issue, 2014, Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 16-04, Available at SSRN:

Russell Powell (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
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Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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