Islamist Unofficial Legal Pluralism in Turkey: The Rise of Islamist Fatwas

18 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2020

Date Written: September 21, 2020


Unlike other administrations, the AKP government has justified this ideological, Islamist turn with the fatwas of government-sponsored religious preachers. The Government has not only blurred the divide between religion and state, but it has also vilified and securitised, as a ‘traitor’ or a ‘heretic’, anyone who stands against any government policies or actions. As a well-funded ideology, Erdoğan’s Islamist populism has found its way to different Muslim communities in the West, and Erdoğan’s AKP has used any means possible – mosques in Europe and the US, sponsoring conferences and keynote speakers, trips for Muslim diaspora members to Turkey, among other methods – to influence Muslims living in the West, with some success. The last section of this chapter will look at the preliminary signs of the impact of the AKP’s Islamist turn on the grassroots at home and abroad, because these fatwas and propaganda do not only affect the Turks living in Turkey but also abroad and other non-Turkish Muslims that live in the West. In this chapter, we focus only on Turkey, the Turkish diaspora, and how the fatwas issued by the pro-government preachers have affected them, beyond the school, the mosque, and foreign policy.

Keywords: Islamism, law, unoffical law, legal pluralism, fatwas, Erdogan, Turkey, radicalism

JEL Classification: Z010, Z011

Suggested Citation

Yilmaz, Ihsan, Islamist Unofficial Legal Pluralism in Turkey: The Rise of Islamist Fatwas (September 21, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Ihsan Yilmaz (Contact Author)

Deakin University ( email )

75 Pigdons Road
Victoria, Victoria 3216


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