Resources for the Study of Religion in Turkey


Religious belief and practice in Turkey (and the study thereof) have a very long and complicated history.  Islam, Christianity, Judaism, pre-monotheistic religions, and other faiths have all made their mark on the territory comprised within the borders of modern-day Turkey.  Happily for scholars, many bibliographies and reference works on all aspects of religious life in Turkey have been published since 1923, especially in recent years.  Currently some of the major sources for information and reference materials on religion in Turkey are:

Diyanet İşleri Baskanlığı (Presidency of Religious Affairs)

İslam Tarih, Sanat ve Kültür Araştırma Merkezi (Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture)

Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslam Araştırmaları Merkezi (Turkish Religious Foundation Centre for Islamic Studies) has a listing of current publications on the Home page

Islam has been the dominant faith in Turkey for centuries, and modern-day Turkey is mostly Muslim, with 75-90% of the population adhering to Sunni Islam and most of the remainder adhering to the Alevi sect.  Christianity also has a long and eventful history on Anatolian territory both before and after the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453.  Constantinople/Istanbul has been the seat of the highest spiritual/political authority for many Christians (during the Byzantine era) and many Muslims (during the Ottoman era), and the Patriarch of Constantinople is still considered by many to be the supreme authority in the Orthodox Christian world.  The Ottoman Empire was noted for its tolerance of divergent religious practices, including its acceptance of an influx of Jews fleeing persecution in Western Europe after 1492.  The Hebrew books printed in Istanbul by these immigrants were the first examples of printing on Turkish territory.  For more information on religion in Turkey, see the “Religious Life” section of the Library of Congress’ guide to Turkey.  Articles such as Niyazi Oktem’s “Religion in Turkey” (Brigham Young Law Review, 2002/2, p. 371-404) can also provide some background.  For a more comprehensive overview of Turkish printing, the Turkish National Bibliography research guide might be helpful.

This page is divided into the following sections: Bibliographies, Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Online Sources.  In addition to the sources described below, the following general sources can be very useful to the scholar of religion in Turkey:

  1. Türkiye Bibliyografyası
  2. Başbakanlık Devlet Arşivleri (Prime Ministry State Archives)
  3. Türkiye Makaleler Bibliyografyası  (Bibliography of Articles in Turkish Periodicals)
  4. Cumhuriyet Dönemi Makaleler Bibliyografyası
  5. Eski Harflı Türkçe Başma Eserler Bibliyografyası
  6. TOKAT Ulusal Toplu Katalog (National Union Catalog)
  7. Turkiye Yazmaları Toplu Katalogu (The Union Catalogue of Manuscripts in Turkey)