The Question of Waqf in Turkey from its Ottoman Past to the Present
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the traditional waqf law has gone through a reform. Republican reforms abolished the Islamic waqfs and replaced them with "foundations", an institution adapted from the Swiss Civil Code as it was regarded practically more eligible to reshape the former system. Turkish Republic introduced a new civil code in 1926. Under this new code, the waqf institution was changed into an organization detached from its Islamic background. The present essay is going to examine the waqf reform carried out in modern Turkey. The kind of the waqf prescribed by the code of 1926 and the waqfs existed during the Ottoman times were entirely different institutions. The predominant aspect of the newly introduced waqf is evident in its new status which is detached from its religious background. It was actually created and appropriated by considering the similar European organizations. Under the new law waqf is realized as a legal entity. The Islamic perpetuity principle has a rather different meaning under the Turkish Civil code. In this respect, this article will not only consider the legal aspects of waqf law but also it will consider the historical circumstances that paved the way to reshaping the former waqf system in the Republican era.
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