Introduction / History
The Turks originated in Turan, a region that lies between the Caspian Sea and the Mongolian Desert. They arrived in Anatolia, Turkey (Asia Minor) in the eleventh century as conquering warriors. By the year 1299, the Ottoman Dynasty began ruling over what would become a vast empire, greater in area than the Roman Empire, and held the caliphate lamented by Muslim fundamentalists. Over 20 states fell under Ottoman rule, including Southern Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Saudi Arabia. This huge empire lasted until Turkey became a republic in 1923.
The Turks represent a great opportunity to create a "fulcrum" church movement that could reach many other Muslim people groups. This movement can start in New Zealand where there is religious freedom. Who will go to them to see this happen?
Where are they located?
The Turkish community in New Zealand is centered in Wellington, but many live all over the country.
What are their lives like?
A good many Turks in New Zealand are in the food industry, producing and selling delicious Turkish foods like Baklava and shish-k-bob. The typical urban Turk in New Zealand lives a secularized, modern urban life, with all the materialistic advantages and temptations that go with it. Much cultural sexism remains as women are often viewed through traditional Islamic beliefs.
Relaxation is of the utmost importance to Turks. Coffee houses are places where men meet to visit and talk politics or business. In general, the Turks are courteous, gentle people who readily show hospitality to strangers. They are also very patriotic and have a deep sense of nationalistic pride and love for their country. They can easily become offended when reminded of the excesses of the Ottoman Empire.
What are their beliefs?
The Turks of Turkey are predominantly nominally Sunni Muslim, believing in one God (Allah), and an eternal heaven and hell. However, they also have many ethnic beliefs as well. For example, they believe that men have the power to curse others by giving them the "evil eye." They believe that one is protected against such a curse by wearing blue beads, which the evil eye cannot face. Another way to avoid this cursing glare is to spit in a fire and pray to Allah. They also believe that if a woman puts fish oil around a door and a man walks through it, he will love her for the rest of his life.
What are their needs?
Although the Turks of New Zealand have Christian resources (both the Bible and the JESUS Film have been translated into Turkish) available to them in their language, they remain strongly Muslim. Prayer alone has the power to break through the strongholds of Islam. Intercessors are needed to daily stand in the gap and pray for the salvation of Turks.
Negative attributes of modern urban life in New Zealand can lead to identity crises, which in turn can lead individuals to Christ, to fundamentalist Islam, or to destruction.
* Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies focusing on the Turks, no matter where they live.
* Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Turkish diaspora who will boldly declare the gospel.
* Pray that many Turks living abroad will be reached with the gospel and will take it back to Turkey.
* Pray for a Disciple-Making movement to spread throughout the Turkish diaspora, and eventually even lead to disciples in Turkey itself.
Text source: Keith Carey