A Critical Examination of the Ottoman Penal Code

In this essay, literature on Ottoman penal law is critically examined. As it is known Mehmet the conqueror was the first sultan who laid down a great penal code. After that in the reign of Bayezid II, Selim I and Suleyman the lawgiver three general penal codes were promulgated. After Tanzimat Firman, the Penal Law of 1840, 1851 and 1858 were enacted. In this context one might expect that lots of works have been done. But with the exception of some attempts, no serious study was undertaken until 1970s. Thanks to the great efforts of the late Uriel Heyd, Ottoman penal law was drawn attention. There is a growing literature on this long-ignored topic since then. This article aims to review these studies and focuses on the main problems in the field. This study gives a detailed bibliography of the existing literature on Ottoman and Islamic penal law written mainly in Turkish, English and Arabic.


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