Islamic Mediation in Turkey: The Role of Ulema

  • Talha Köse
  • Nimet Beriker


In this study, Islamic dispute resolution methods and processes in contemporary Turkey are examined. The findings indicate that the dispute coming to ulema (Islamic scholars who are experts in Islamic legal jurisprudence) forms three cluster types: marital, financial, and those related to fights and accidents. The ulema’s legitimacy is faith and knowledge based, and does not depend solely on professional expertise, procedures, or settings. Transformational, facilitative, and muscle mediation approaches do not directly correspond to the ulema’s third‐party approaches. Family elder/counselor, peace‐broker, and facilitator/arbitrator are indigenous third‐party roles. Their techniques include elements of the mediation procedures employed in western contexts, as well as those originating in Islamic law, such as fatwa, kısas‐diya, and providing explanations according to sharia. Ulema do not get additional help from other third parties and do not socialize with disputants. Adelet (“justice”), mahremiyet (“privacy”), kardeşlik (“brotherhood”), and bağışlamak (“forgiveness”) are concepts and metaphors to which reference is frequently made in explaining the logic and fundamental values of the ulema’s intervention.

Keywords: interpersonal conflict, third party intervention, mediation

How to Cite:

Köse, T. & Beriker, N., (2012) “Islamic Mediation in Turkey: The Role of Ulema”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 5(2), 136-161. doi:

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Published on
10 Apr 2012
Peer Reviewed