Batul 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 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.