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. 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.
Turkey is considered to be a "link" between the Orient (Chinese and Mongols) and the Occidental (Anglo-Saxons, Slavs, Goths, and Latins). The Turk, therefore, have a knowledge and mixture of both Eastern and Western cultures.
Where are they located? The majority of Turks live in their home country but significant numbers live elsewhere. Several million Turks live in Germany alone as either guest workers or German citizens. Many more live throughout Europe, and a small number of them are in Portugal.
What are their lives like? Turks in Portugal 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 the 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, so they do not appreciate it when others remind them of the excesses of the Ottoman Empire or modern Turkey.
What are their beliefs? The Turks 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.
Memories of conflict with Christians, and a desire to join the European Union while remaining Islamic may stand as barriers to the gospel.
What are their needs? Although the Turks have Christian resources (both the Bible and the JESUS Film have been translated into Turkish) available to them in their language and mission agencies have worked among them, 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 these precious people.
Prayer Points * Pray for Turkish Bibles and the JESUS Film to become widely available to Turks in Portugal.
* Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies focusing on the Turks.
* Pray that many Turks living in Portugal will be reached with the gospel and will take it back to Turkey.
* Pray for a strong disciple making movement among Turks to emerge in Europe.