The Turkish Law of 1925 Closing the Dervish Lodges


"Law 677 which prohibits and abolishes the profession of tomb-keeping, the assigning of mystical names, and the closing of tekkes (dervish lodges), zaviyes (central dervish lodges), and tombs. 13 December 1925. (1) All the tekkes and zaviyes in the Turkish Republic, either in the form of wakf (religious foundations) or under the personal property right of its sheikh or established in any other way, are closed. Those used as mosques [cami] and mescits (small mosques) may be retained as such. (2) All of the orders [tarikatler] using (titles such) as sheikh [sheyhlik], dervish [dervishlik], disciple [müritlik], senior dervish [dedelik], leader of the Mevlevi Order [chelebilik], descendent of the Prophet Muhammad [seyitlik], sheikh [babalik], descendent of the Prophet Muhammad [emirlik], dervish leader [nakiblik], deputy sheikh [halifelik], fortune-teller [falcilik]. . . . Service to these titles, and the wearing of dervish costume are prohibited. The tombs of the dervish orders are closed, and the profession of tomb keeping is abolished. Those who open the closed tekkes or zaviyes, or the tombs, and those who re-establish them or those who give temporary places to the orders [tarikat] or to people who are called by any of the mystical name mentioned above or those who serve them, will be sentenced to at least three months in prison and will be fined at least fifty Turkish liras. (3: added 1949) (For the use of the titles) Sheikh, Baba, and Halife such as found, not less than six months in prison and a heavy fine of not less than 500 Turkish liras, and not less than one year (in prison) for another offense. (4: added 1950) The tombs of great and famous Turks [Türbelerden Türk büyükler] can be opened in public, for those who value great art, by the Ministry of Culture. It is necessary to appoint civil servants for their maintenance."