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 whose demise is still lamented by Islamicists. 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. Since the 1920s modern Turkey has become a secular, developed nation that sits literally and symbolically, between the Christian West and the Muslim East.
Turkey is considered to be a "link" between Asia and the West. Some would like for Turkey to become part of the European Union, and thus become more Western, but in recent years, Turks have been more inclined to favor their Islamic past.
Where are they located? Turks who have migrated to Spain live mainly in Barcelona, Madrid and Alicante. There is a smaller Turkish community in Andalusia and the Balearic Islands.
What are their lives like? Relaxation is of the utmost importance to the Turks in Spain. 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. For this reason, they feel defensive when someone brings up the atrocities of the Ottoman Empire or the Armenian Genocide.
Turks in Spain have become great artists and athletes, although most have more ordinary jobs.
What are their beliefs? Turks have been Sunni Muslim for centuries. They are not that devout, but Islam is a non-negotiable part of their culture. To turn away from Islam, even for a marginal Muslim, is unacceptable.
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 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.
Negative attributes of modern urban life such as drunkenness, drug use and prostitution exist among Turks. Such an atmosphere can lead to identity crises that could lead individuals to Christ, to fundamentalist Islam or to destruction.
Prayer Points * Pray that churches and mission organizations will accept the challenge of reaching the Turks in Spain.
* Ask God to give Turkish believers boldness to share the gospel with Turks in Spain.
* 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 influence their people to give Jesus a chance to transform their lives and communities.
* Pray that many Turks living in Spain will be reached with the gospel and will take it back to Turkey.