Current Visiting Scholars

Sumeyye Saritas

Sumeyye Saritas is a Ph.D. student at Istanbul University in Istanbul, Turkey concentrating on Ottoman Law in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is currently working on her dissertation which examines the attempts at codification of Ottoman family law from the Tanzimat period (1839-1876) up until the modern Republic of Turkey (1923). Ms. Saritas has taught courses in classical Arabic and Islamic law at various institutions in Istanbul, Turkey. 

Murat Saritas

Murat Saritas is a Ph.D student at Istanbul University in Istanbul, Turkey concentrating on Ottoman Law. He is currently working on his dissertation which analyzes the check and balance mechanisms in Ottoman procedural law in the second half of the sixteenth century. Mr. Saritas has worked as a Research Assistant in the Faculty of Theology, Department of Islamic Law at Istanbul University, and as a Researcher at the Turkish Religious Foundation in Istanbul. 

Isil Acehan

Isil Acehan received her Ph.D. in History from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. Dr. Acehan's research interests focus on Ottoman and early Muslim immigration to the U.S., immigration policies in the U.S., history of Islam in America, and American board missionaries and schools in the Ottoman Empire. She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the John XXXIII Foundation for Religious Studies in Bologna Italy. Prior to this, she served as Assistant Professor at Ipek University in the department of History in Ankara, Turkey. During her residency with the Center, she will be conducting research on Ottoman Muslim (ethnic Turks, Kurds, and Arabs) immigration to the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  

Betul Yurtalan

Betul Yurtalan is a Ph.D. student at Ankara University's Faculty of Divinity in Turkey. She is currently working on her dissertation examining the history of Islamic sects. Her research looks into the controversies of the Islamic fourth and fifth Islamic centuries when dimensions of Ismailism effected Sunni-Shiite relations.

Sami Erdem

Sami Erdem is an Associate Professor in the Islamic Law department of Marmara University’s Faculty of Theology, Istanbul and is currently Senior Visiting Fellow at the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies. During his time at the Center, Erdem will be completing his research on “Perceptions of the Mecelle (Ottoman Civil Code) Through a Study of English Literature” and begin working on a new research topic, "Conceptions of Ijtihad in Late Ottoman Legal Thought". While at the Center, Dr. Erdem led the planning and organization of the first graduate student colloquium on Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies co-sponsored with the Diyanet Islamic Research Institute in April 2017.
His academic interests include late Ottoman law, Mecelle, codification of Islamic law in 19th and 20th centuries, caliphate, ijtihad and fatwa in modern times.