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 11th 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. It was the last Caliphate, an Islamic political state. Today Muslim militants lament its downfall. The huge Ottoman Empire spread out eastward into what is now western China, including what is now Turkmenistan. This empire lasted until Turkey became a republic in 1923.
Many similar ethnic groups and languages have emerged from the days of the Ottoman Empire. Just as we now have various Latin-based languages in Europe after the demise of the Roman Empire, we have various languages that came out of the areas controlled by the Ottomans. Today, three of these languages are especially similar: Turkish, Azeri, and Turkmen.
Where are they located?
The Turkish community has made its mark in Turkmenistan through educational institutions in Ashgabad, Turkmenistan's capital city.
What are their lives like?
There are very few Turks in Turkmenistan, and these people are well-integrated with the Turkman majority. As mentioned earlier, even their language is very similar to that of the Turkmen majority.
What are their beliefs?
Turks are almost all Sunni Muslims whether they live in Turkey or Turkmenistan. For different reasons, both Turks and Turkmen are secularized Muslims. They are much more concerned with the here and now than with spiritual matters. The government of Turkmenistan discourages people from being "religious" because they associate religion with terrorism and fanaticism.
What are their needs?
Turks in Turkmenistan need to understand the value of having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
* Pray that churches and mission organizations will accept the challenge of adopting and reaching the Turks in Turkmenistan.
* Ask God to give the Turkish believers boldness to share the gospel with their own people in the Turkish world.
* Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies focusing on the Turks.
* Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Turks 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.
Text source: Keith Carey