In October 2010, Prof. Dr. Raoul Motika was appointed as the first director of the now independent Orient-Institut Istanbul.
After completing coursework in the history and culture of the Middle East, Iranian studies, Political Science, and Historical Methodology at the Universities of Munich, Izmir, and Tehran, he graduated with an MA from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in 1992. He received his doctorate in 1997 with a dissertation in Islamic Studies at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg on the recent history of IranianAzerbaijan. After working for several years as a researcher and lecturer at the Heidelberg University, he was the coordinator of the international research project “Islamic Education in the Soviet Union and the CIS” at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (2002–2004). He was then appointed as Assistant Professor in Islamic Studies with a focus on the Ottoman Empire, Turkey and Iran and contemporary research at Bern University (2005–2006).
In fall 2006, he accepted an appointment to a W3 professorship for Turkish Studies at Hamburg University. He simultaneously served as director of the Heidelberg Centre for Euro-Asiatic Studies e.V. at Heidelberg University (HECEAS e.V.) and as spokesman for the TürkeiEuropaZentrum Hamburg (TEZ), which he founded. Currently, he continues to head a postdoctoral project within the SFB 950 “Manuscript Cultures in Africa, Asia, and Europe” at Hamburg University He has written and edited several books on the modern history of Iran, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Ottoman Empire. In addition to contributions to the history of the Middle East, he has written numerous articles on the political and religious situation of the Middle East, Turkey and the Caucasus.