Libmonster ID: TR-1250

Over the past three decades, there has been a clear resurgence in the activities of various Sufi orders (tariqas) and other religious and cultural communities (jemaats)in Turkey*. It takes on new features and often crosses national borders (in particular, in the regions where Islam is spread on the territory of post-Soviet states).

The growing activity of religious public associations is due to many factors. But the breeding ground for their revival was, first of all, "popular Islam" as a form of religion, often inseparable from local customs and traditions. The preservation of" popular Islam " and its regeneration in new socio-political forms is rooted in the peculiarities of the country's historical development and is largely explained by the nature of the Kemalist revolutionary transformations. The new worldview model was imposed by the Kemalist authorities "from above" by authoritarian methods and, being a tool for solving political problems, reinforced the state-society dichotomy: state institutions were modernized, while society remained largely faithful to traditional socio-economic models. According to the Kemalists, the policy of Laicization** in the conditions of an authoritarian type of government should have led to the death of Islamic institutions, ideals and values, but they were preserved in the form of "popular Islam".


As the crisis of Kemalist nationalism deepened, banned religious orders, which traditionally were based on uniting around a particular sheikh and obeying his authority not only in spiritual matters, but also in purely vital matters, attracted an increasingly significant number of supporters to their ranks.

The policy of the Turkish governments of the 1980s and 1990s opened up new opportunities for religious associations.

After the military coup of September 12, 1980, the ruling elite decided that it was necessary to revive Turkey's traditional value systems as the most effective obstacle to the spread of leftist ideas. The Government of T. Ozal (1983-1989) was also dominated by the belief that the state should open up ways for the development of religious organizations, i.e., finally stop persecuting them and create opportunities for their self - sufficiency and development. A concrete measure to implement these guidelines was the state policy of financial and economic support for religious foundations associated with Sufi brotherhoods (tarishts). Such funds again, as in the days of the Ottoman Empire, became a significant factor in mobilizing and increasing the activity of Turkish society. In addition, the authorities found it extremely useful to encourage religious communities to attract "Muslim" capital and other sources of investment from the Middle East.

Since the 1980s, religious foundations and businesses focused on "Muslim" capital have formed a special entrepreneurial layer, called "green capital"in Turkish journalism. In the 1990s, it developed particularly rapidly, securing a high level of competitiveness.-

* The terms tariqa and jemaat do not have a strict definition in the scientific literature, which would allow for a clear distinction between them in relation to religious communities. Jemaat is a more general term used to refer to an organized community of Muslims. This concept also refers to a particular trend within a particular religious order. Usually, when it comes specifically to the Sufi fraternities of Turkey, these latter are called tariqats (orders).

** Laicism - the policy of building a secular state. The main principle of its implementation in Kemalist Turkey was the complete subordination of religious institutions to the state, constant control over the activities of Muslim clergy and the introduction of European legal norms.

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God has an important place in the Turkish economy.

Non-governmental foundations, or waqfs, have become the mainstay of religious communities ' economic growth. These traditional charitable foundations for Muslim countries were taken over by the state with the beginning of Kemalist transformations. The so-called secular waqfs created, which were not based on religious norms, were unclaimed among the traditionalist masses of Anatolia and soon disappeared. In the 1970s, the newly formed Muslim charitable foundations were still quite cautious, turning to the Turkish bourgeoisie for support, and later to financial companies from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which had settled in Turkey since the early 1980s.

Waqf funds were actively used by various religious orders and Islamist movements, forming a wide layer of so-called Islamist waqfs, the origin and further development of which is closely related to the changing political situation.

Today, graduates of religious schools funded by waqfs find employment not so much in mosques, but in the field of science, business, and government structures. The waqf institute used by Islamists plays an important role as a carrier of socialization and social unity, which, for various reasons, neither the state education system nor state religious institutions are able to perform1. The "religious clientelism" generated by this system of relations* has become a fundamental characteristic of Turkish politics, particularly of the conservative parties.

In 1993, 16 waqfs created by the largest Turkish industrial groups founded the organization "Waqf-the third Sector of Turkey "(TUSEV, TUSEV - Turkiye Ucuncu Sektor Vakfe). Today TYUSEV unites more than 120 charitable foundations, associations, non-governmental public organizations and, as announced on the official website of this organization, considers itself the vanguard of the movement for "modernizing Turkish society, forming a genuine civil society and ensuring Turkey's early entry into the European Union"2. The Waqf institution thus regains its role as one of the organizing forms of Turkish society.

The system of Turkish "Islamic" entrepreneurship is centered around the " Association of Muslim Independent Industrialists and Entrepreneurs "(MUSIAD). The active development of these two above-mentioned associations within the country's economic system indicates the rise of" Muslim "capital, which has already equaled the status of the most influential in Turkish business, long established by the old republican (primarily Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara) bourgeoisie" Society of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkey " (TYUSIAD).

In conditions when many political parties do not have a clear electoral orientation and distinct socio-economic programs, when there are no developed mechanisms and subjects of civil society - trade unions, public organizations, etc., successfully functioning TUSEV, MUSIAD and Islamist waqfs have managed to become influential lobbying organizations.

"Muslim" capital is significantly represented in textile exports, especially to Muslim countries, in construction contracts, mainly performed in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus, and in Central Asia.

Yipmash and Kombassan Holdings (founded in 1982 and 1985, respectively) have become pioneers of green capital, 3 and the number of similar companies increases from year to year. The activities of these corporations, as well as other holdings - Ikhlyas, Anadolu, Ulker, Ittifak, Ikram - have long crossed national borders and are now carried out all over the world - from Europe to Southeast Asia. Influential "Islamic" holdings are active not only in industry and trade, but also in the information and propaganda business. They have at their disposal the latest means of printing and publishing, and actively use such technological achievements of globalization as a single information space, the economic and financial-credit spheres.

Since the time of Ozal, Saudi financial companies - Faisal Finance, Al-Baraka, Islamic Development Bank-have been active in the country - their Turkish branches are to varying degrees connected with local Islamic organizations. Prior to the large financial injections from Arab countries in the Middle East that followed in 2001, when Saudi entrepreneurs began gradually withdrawing their assets from the United States, the capital of Turkey's "Islamic" holdings developed in the form of

* Clientelism (from Lat. clients-obedient, dependent, subordinate) - a form of social dependence "patron-client", personal or collective submission to the head of the family, which originated in Ancient Rome. The term is applied to various types of such relations, including feudal (suzerain-vassal), in some Eastern countries - paternalistic, corrupt, etc. ed.).

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This was largely due to "emigrant" investments coming from Turkish communities in the West. "Green" holdings still invest heavily in the construction of factories and factories that produce goods that are in demand among the Islamic part of the population in areas of compact residence of Turks in Europe. Funds from the sale of these goods, together with the charitable savings of Turkish communities, are returned to Turkey and invested in" green " holdings.

As a result of the processes of gradual de-etatization, i.e. the withdrawal of the state from the economic and social spheres, the role of religious associations and their affiliated foundations is expanding, their activities are becoming more diverse - these public associations fill the space vacated by the state in such areas as education and science.


Support and assistance from the financial community, along with the revival of interest in the religious and cultural heritage of Turkey and the strengthening of the religious factor in politics, expand the influence of Islamic associations, which is clearly seen in the example of tariqa. Religious orders and sects that were dissolved in 1925 were stripped of all their property. Despite the liberalization of the regime and changes in the attitude of the authorities to religion in the 80s and 90s, the legal ban on the activity of tariqas remained until 2003. Until recently, no religious community could act as an independent public organization under the threat of criminal prosecution.

The amendments to the Law on Societies and the Law on Foundations adopted in 2003, as part of a course aimed at harmonizing the Turkish judicial system and legislation with European requirements, not only legalized their long-standing practices, but also significantly expanded their freedom of assembly.4

Tariqas were one of the most important subjects of politics during the Ottoman Empire. For example, most of the Janissary corps were members of the Bektashi brotherhood. The leaders of the missions or monasteries (tekke) of these fraternities had enormous political influence in the provinces of the empire.

Despite the persecution in the early Republican period, Sufi orders were preserved, because they were a kind of social networks that performed not only religious, but also cultural, communicative and socializing functions. Often they had a stable geographical reference, forming a kind of local-religious clannishness.

Since the 1950s, under the rule of the Democratic Party, the revival of traditional Turkish Sufi orders and even the formation of new ones began. Having become a significant subject of the country's economic life in the era of Ozal liberalization and already representing influential interest groups, Sufi tariqas soon entered the political arena. The leadership of the Right Path Party (PVP), which formed a coalition government with the Islamist Welfare Party (Refah) in March 1996, brought the orders out of the political underground, publicly appealing to them for support during the 1995 election campaign.

Today, there are about two dozen Sufi orders in Turkey; among them are usually distinguished: Mevlevi, Kadiyri, Khalvatiya, Tijani, Biberi, Suleymancilar (Suleymanists)5. The most significant socio-religious groups in the country today are the Naqshibendi, Nurdjists and others. Gulen and

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public movement "National view" by N. Erbakan 6.

Order of Naqshibendi (Naqshbandiya) He was one of the founders of the movement of political Islam in Turkey. The first Islamist parties in Erbakan (the National Order Party and the National Salvation Party) were formed with the support of Sheikh Mehmet Zayed Kotku, the former head of the Iskender Pasha Cemaat and the Tariqa in Istanbul, which was located within the walls of the Iskender Pasha Mosque.

Among the members of the tariqa are such prominent figures as former President Turgut Ozal, Korkut Ozal (an influential politician and the elder brother of T. Ozal), current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and for some time N. Erbakan.8

In the 1980s, some followers of the Naqshibendi Order joined the Fatherland Party of T. Ozala. Much later, the United Waqf organization, created by K. Ozal and brought together conservative and religious political forces through the mediation of the order, formed the main backbone of the current ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Another head of Cemaat Iskender Pasha, Esad Joshan, is described as a mentor to Prime Minister Erdogan, who attended seminars at the Brotherhood 9 mosque. Tariqat Iskender Pasha has its own political party-the Party of Prudence 10.

In the large Nurjist community (other names: Nursists, Nurjular, Jemaat nur), 11 the most influential community is headed by Khoja Fethullah Gulen. His community is often mentioned in the Turkish media as a rich and influential public religious organization. A huge number of network structures created by Gulen participate in the preaching of Islam in its interpretation 12-these are about a hundred different waqf funds, 20 societies, about 200 firms operating with many millions of dollars. The most influential among them is the Akiyazli Foundation, which finances dozens of schools, student dormitories and more than 300 charitable institutions.

In the 1980s, the Gulen movement supported Ozal's center-right Fatherland Party, but never supported Erbakan. After he was ousted from power by the military during the "February 28 process", 13 Gulen's organizations, through their media resources, strongly supported the reformist wing of the Erbakan Welfare Party. Representatives of this particular faction later formed the current ruling AKP.

The movement is actively engaged in promoting the idea of creating a permanent and harmonious dialogue between the Abrahamic religions*, holding various seminars and conferences on this topic. Active public activity in the creation of educational institutions, from lyceums to universities, is one of the characteristic features of the Nurcular movement and is widespread far beyond the borders of the Republic of Turkey. In total, there are currently 103 schools, 460 courses and about 500 dormitories of this tariqa.14

In 1999, the Ankara State Security Court opened a criminal case against Gulen under Articles 312 and 313 of the Turkish Criminal Code on charges of "activities aimed at undermining the secular regime" .15

The authorities are much more tolerant of the brotherhood's missionary activities outside the Republic of Turkey. Moreover, many experts believe that the religious and educational activities of Gulen's Nurjist societies are in some way supported by the Turkish special services: they allegedly find the sect useful in terms of implementing Turkey's strategic goals of uniting the "Turkic world" .16

Gulen's groups are often labeled as political Islamists on the grounds that they use mind-grabbing tactics such as active propaganda and religious instruction. However, many political experts argue that the Gulen movement is not Islamist, since it does not pursue the goal of establishing a theocratic power in the manner of the caliphate (on the contrary, the movement completely rejects this type of state structure), but only seeks to spread the Ottoman model of confessional pluralism and tolerance in the Republic of Turkey.

Hakan Ya Vuz, a well-known Turkish sociologist, argues that the Nurdjist movement plays a very high role in the country's life: "Without a proper understanding of the Nur movement's ideology and its significance in society, it is impossible to form an idea of the phenomenon of religious movements in Turkey as a whole."17

Activities of the companions of Erbakan from the religious socio-political movement "National View" in

* The Abrahamic religions include Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which are united by the cult of the biblical patriarch Abraham, who believed in one God and entered into a covenant with him, recognition to some extent of the Old Testament, belief in the creation of the world by God out of nothing (creationism), the idea of God as transcendent to the world, and at the same time the same time is close to each person (editor's note).

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Turkey is banned. But the group has been successful in Europe, especially in Germany, where its headquarters are located. In Germany, its full name sounds like "Islamic Association " National View". Metin Guur, a researcher of Islamist activities in Europe, estimates that in 2000 the association had camps and schools where Sharia law was taught and political Islam was promoted in more than 250 European cities. In some educational centers, lectures were delivered by deputies of the Mejlis of the VNST from the Virtue Party (Fazilet)18 Erbakan.

The "Islamic Association" National View", which is rapidly increasing the number of its adherents in Europe, mainly at the expense of unemployed and restless young people, is being closely watched by the German authorities. The special services of Germany consider this organization to be an extremist movement that opposes the existing system in the country. A report published in 2006 by the Federal Agency for Internal Investigations classified National View as an Islamist extremist organization that promotes "an atmosphere of intolerance and social tension." 19 However, the agency's report also stated that there was no serious evidence of violations of the law by the association, and therefore law enforcement agencies were only advised to monitor it closely activity 20.

There have been many anti-State religious associations of extremist and terrorist nature in the history of the Republic of Turkey. But to date, they do not find any significant support from the population. This is explained by the special role that Islam occupies in a country that has adopted the principle of separation of religion from politics, as well as by the historical features of the formation of the religious consciousness of the Turks, namely: the tolerant nature of Islam in the Ottoman Empire and the determining influence of Sufism ideas, focused on maintaining a certain distance from politics. 21

Thus, with the expansion of political freedoms, the population of Anatolia began to adapt the usual forms of self-organization to the new conditions. And the transition to a market economy has allowed religious communities to create their own financial and economic structures that accumulate significant resources today.

Islamic orders, not without the support of the governments of the 80s and 90s, gained significant influence in Turkish society, becoming an independent force. The largest and most influential of them have moved from narrowly religious to broad public and financial activities, creating a powerful institution of funds that are no longer easy to control due to the complex mechanism of profit redistribution.

To date, there have been significant changes in the nature of their relations with the authorities and the secular political regime of the country. Representing at the dawn of Kemalist transformations an ideological and political opposition to the secular regime based on common fundamental religious principles, today's orders in their overwhelming majority do not openly encroach on the secular nature of the Turkish state structure. They do not support extremist actions against the ruling regime, preferring a policy of compromise with the authorities and active political forces.

It is hardly possible to assume with a sufficient degree of confidence the creation of a united front of religious organizations of Islamist orientation, which would be able to create any serious threat to the republican regime, taking into account the sentiments of the secular Kemalist generals. This is due, among other factors, to their disunity, lack of consensus on the most important political issues, and simply the unwillingness of some of them to enter into coalitions with each other.

In the context of a secular political system and the ongoing process of Europeanization, which is most clearly manifested in the establishment of political and economic pluralism in the life of Turkish society, the socio-political role of a growing number of religious associations takes on new meanings.

Representing the interests of not only the traditionalist religious-minded masses, but also the emerging new entrepreneurial strata, the middle strata of the urban population, they act as a kind of transitional proto-elements, which are a synthesis of tradition and modernity, symbiotic structures included in the formation of civil society in Turkey.

Many high-ranking political leaders are forced to interact with Sufi communities in order to get electoral and financial support from them. Such a model of political behavior seems to Turkish political analyst Mehmet Arisan successful, since " it is these hordes that are the most important ones in the world."-

page 33

It is not the parties that represent the historically formed changing social and cultural images of Anatolia, to the needs of which both the state and various political circles have always shown indifference. " 22

The interaction of state authorities with organized communities largely avoids potential conflicts, since religious communities and numerous non-governmental organizations created by them, as proto-elements of civil society, are an effective tool for feedback between the state and society. This connection is especially important in relations with the traditional masses, who do not yet have a civil political consciousness, experience in expressing their interests and promoting them, who have not had time to accept or even resist the models of modern democratic procedures for civil participation, which Turkey, as a candidate for EU membership, seeks to develop in every possible way.

1 The effect of the campaign to combat sources of funding for religious movements initiated by the "February 28 trial" of 1997 was insignificant and had virtually no effect on charitable foundations affiliated with Islamists.


3 Most of these companies were founded in the 1990s, and many of them were not only completely "opaque", but also simply did not register their financial activities. This aspect and other features of the functioning of holdings, usually referred to as "green capital", caused concern among government agencies. In June 1997, the Supreme Court of Turkey sentenced the chairman and several other high-ranking employees of Yipmash Holding to prison. At the same time, the court resumed the criminal case against representatives of the Kombassan ve Yimpas'ta sole holding / / Radikal, 16.06.2007.

4 Turkish public organizations are now allowed to establish international contacts, open branches abroad, and make public statements without prior approval from the authorities. These legislative acts are also valid for foreign associations; however, in this case, their activities are subject to local laws. Funds of non-Muslim religious denominations have acquired the right to buy up and register real estate for themselves. Non-Muslim places of worship have been indirectly recognized; now, according to the urban planning regulation, it is recommended to allocate space not only for mosques, but also for religious buildings. Turkish Ministry of Justice website -

5 Okan Konuralp Yayэn Tarihi// Hurriyet. 17.07.2006.

Hakan Yavuz M. and Esposito John L. 6 Turkish Islam and the Secular State. The Gulen Movement, Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University Press, 2003, p. 26 - 27.

Tariqat 7 Iskender Pasha founded several waqfs, among them the most famous: Hakyol Waqfs ("Foundation of the True Path"), Koshan ("Running"), Ilim Kultur ("Science and Culture"), Saglyk Waqfs" ("Health Foundation"). These waqfs have become the foundation of the financial well-being of the tariqa.

8 At the time, Tariqa Sheikh E. Joshan harshly and consistently criticized Erbakan for excessive "politicization of religion." Serif Mardin. Turkish Islamic Exceptionalism Yesterday and Today // Journal of International Affairs. Vol. 54, No. 1, Fall 2000, p. 158 - 159.

Biography of Prof. Dr. Mahmud Esad Cosan -

9 Biography of Prof. Dr. Mahmud Esad Cosan...

Hakan Yavuz M. and Esposito John L. 10 Op. cit., p. 26.

11 Members of the order profess the views of the Kurd Islamic preacher Said Nursi (1873-1960). This religious thinker was persecuted by the Kemalists for spreading the teachings of risale (Risale-i Nur - "The Book of Light"; hence Nurjism) and spent much of his life in exile and prison. Nursi, in his book Risale-i Nur, which is a commentary on the Koran, wrote that the time of the "jihad of the sword "is over and the era of the" jihad of peace " has come, implying by this the need to reconcile science, a rational way of knowing the world around us, with Islam. In the 1950s. Nursi tried in every possible way to establish a dialogue with Pope Pius XII and other Christian leaders on the issue of countering atheism and defended the rights of national minorities in Turkey. Allenjohn L. Jr. These Two Islamic Movements Bear Watching. All Things Catholic // National Catholic Reporter, 22.06.2007 -

12 The Gulen movement founded many private schools, hospitals, charities, Fatih University in Istanbul, as well as the newspapers Zaman, TV Samanyolu ("Milky Way") and Mehtap ("Full Moon"). The Ebru TV channel broadcasts in English in the United States. Cihan Haber Japan News Agency, Aksiyon political magazine, Bank of Asia (or Asya Finans) and Isec Sigorta insurance company. The Writers 'and Journalists' Foundation is also one of the organizations founded by the Gulen movement. Thomas Michel, S. J. Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Cooperation in the Thought of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi // The Muslim World. Vol. 88, No. 3 - 4, July-October 1999 - - 1913.1999.tb02751.x

13 Another common name for these events is "postmodern upheaval".

Davydov M. N. 14 Activity of the Turkish religious sect Nurjuar - - 11 - 07b.htm

15 The prosecution of Gulen is being conducted in absentia, as the accused himself has been living in the United States for several years due to the need for medical treatment. With the coming to power of the government of R. T. Erdogan, the positions of Nurdjists in the countries where the Muslim and Turkic-speaking peoples live have significantly strengthened. And the Turkish Constitution was amended to acquit Gulen on a number of charges in May 2006. At the same time, not wanting Gulen to return to Turkey, the court did not demand that the United States extradite him. Repeated appeals (the last one - in October 2007) were rejected due to the position of the Turkish Prosecutor's Office. Davydov M. N. Decree, Op.

16 This movement has opened a significant number of schools, lyceums, hospitals, radio stations and newspapers in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Middle East and Africa. There were 128 nurdjist lyceums in Central Asia. Nurdjists have opened more than 20 educational institutions in Russia. Currently, there are 7 Tatar-Turkish lyceums in operation. Under the name Nurchilar, Fathullachilar, the Order is included in the list of terrorist and religious extremist organizations whose activities are prohibited in Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Davydov M. N. Decree, Op.

Yavuz Hakan. 17 Islamic Political Identity in Turkey. Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 11 - +Yavuz,+Islamic+Political+Identity+in+Turkey,+Oxford+University+Press,+2003&print sec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=ru&ei=YSqbSYKaO4Xc0AXfkuDAAg&sa=X&oi=boo k_result&resnum=4&ct=result#PPP1.M1

18 Cumhuriyet, 3.09.2000.

Sollich Rainer. 19 Dialogue with Extremists? // Deutsche Welle/ 2006 -

20 In the absence of serious evidence against National View, the North Rhine-Westphalia Federal State Court dismissed the organization's investigation in November 2005.

Aras Bulent 21 and Bacik Gokhan. The Mystery of Turkish Hizballah // Middle East Policy 9/2 (2002), p. 156; Ozoren Suleyman. Turkish Hizballah (Hizbullah: A Case Study of Radical Terrorism // Turkish Weekly - Laciner. Combat against Religionist Terrorism in Turkey: Al Qaeda and Turkish Hezbollah Cases -

Arisan Mehmet. 22 A General History of The Politicization of Islam In Turkey // Turkish Daily News. 27.07.1996 -


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