Turkish constitutional law professor says Turkey preparing to switch to Islamic law

Constitutional law professor Kemal Gözler said the number of students and faculty members in faculties of law and theology could hint to preparations to switch Turkey’s legal system to an Islamic one.

In his article titled “The Value of Islamic Law: Could Islamic Law Pose an Alternative to Western Law?” Gözler said students enrolling in the faculty of theology increased fivefold from 2010 to 2019, going from 6,252 to 33,202.

The number of faculties of theology rose from 24 to 92 and the number of faculty members rose from 1,120 to 4,121 during the same nine-year period, according to Gözler’s analysis of Turkey’s universities.

There are currently 407 academics working in the Islamic law and Fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudence, departments in faculties of theology, Gözler said. 

“If this was an ordinary number, there would have been comparable numbers of academics in the Roman law departments in Turkey,” Gözler continued, adding that there are currently 24 faculty members in these departments. 

Universities employing 24 faculty members for Roman law, which forms the basis of the current Turkish legal system, while employing 407 for Islamic law, which does not, is suspicious, Gözler said. “There must be another underlying idea,” he added.

The day Turkey would forego Western law in favour of Islamic law is closer than ever, if such a day were ever to come, Gözler said, adding that Islamic law saw widespread and effective propaganda for years in the country, with poetic language and an emphasis on the values it upholds rather than its content as a legal system.

A code of conduct for participation banks, which pay revenue for savings instead of interest, published in Turkey’s Official Gazette had cited several Quranic verses and listed a requirement to be “god-fearing” for auditors, according to a recent report.