- Turkish criminal law and law of criminal procedure
- Islamic criminal law in the modern world, particularly in the Islamic Republic of Iran
- Constitutional law of the Near Eastern countries
Silvia Tellenbach was born in Freiburg in 1950. She moved to Italy in 1963, where she completed her secondary school education (Abitur) in 1969. Facing the alternative of studying comparative linguistics or law, she opted for law but continued to study Italian, Spanish, and Russian (intermediate examination in Slavic languages and literature). After attending the universities of Göttingen, Tübingen, and Freiburg, she completed her studies with the first state examination (1. Juristisches Staatsexamen) in 1974 and, after her legal training in the judicial service (Referendariat), with the second state examination (2. Juristisches Staatsexamen) in 1976. During her judicial service, she joined the Max Planck Institute as a student assistant and began to learn Arabic. Following the second state examination, she took up Islamic studies in Freiburg and Cairo, learning Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. She earned her doctorate with a dissertation on the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. At the same time, she started to build up the research section “Turkey, Iran, and the Arab States” at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law. She has held the position of head of section since 1984. In Sept. 2017 Silvia Tellenbach was awarded an honorary doctorate from Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul.