First founded to provide a safe alternative location for Orient-Institut Beirut of Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft (DMG) during the last phase of the civil war in Lebanon, the institute continues to be affiliated with its mother institute in Beirut. Today, both institutes operate under the umbrella of Verbund der Deutschen Geisteswissenschaftlichen Institute im Ausland (D.G.I.A.). Orient-Institute Istanbul promotes research on historical and contemporary topics in the fields of Turkish and Ottoman Studies, Iranian Studies, Islamic Studies, the Study of the Christian Near East, as well as research in the social sciences.
The tasks of Orient-Institute Istanbul include:
- the promotion of international academic cooperation and exchange
- carrying out research projects within the institute's scientific specialisation
- the organisation of academic conferences and workshops
- the publication of academic serials and monographs
- assistance with academic inquiries
- the consultation of foreign researchers in Turkey
- the running of an academic library focusing on the institute's research interests (Online-Catalogue - OPAC)
The Orient-Institut Istanbul is advised and supported in its tasks by a scientific advisory board.