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 Turkish dominated 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. Over 20 states fell under Ottoman rule. During the days of the Ottoman Empire, ports in what is now Sudan were controlled by the Ottomans. Thus Turkey and Sudan have ties that go back for over 500 years.
Since the 1920s modern Turkey has become a secular, developed nation that sits, literally and symbolically, between the Christian West and the Muslim world. Wherever they live the Turks are almost 100 percent Muslim, but they emulate the Europeans by developing international businesses. These businesses have left their mark even in places like Sudan.
Where are they located? The majority of Turks live in their home country but significant numbers live elsewhere. Though it is common for Turks to migrate to Europe, there are some who have found their way to Sudan in far-away East Africa.
What are their lives like? Turks living in Sudan are usually working for Turkish-based companies or for relief agencies like the Red Crescent. One Turkish company is working with the Sudanese to re-build the ancient city of Suakin. The project is employing both Turks and Sudanese Arabs. They hope that the project will help strengthen Sudan's tourist industry.
What are their beliefs? The Turks are Muslim, but they are not likely to fall prey to the extremist forms of Islam. One of the reasons is that they associate Islamic extremism and violence with their rivals, the Arabs. Hundreds of years ago the Ottoman Empire replaced an Arab based empire, and ever since then many Turks have felt like they are part of a superior civilization. The Turkish form of Islam can also be blended with secularism.
What are their needs? Turks in Sudan need security. Sudan is a dangerous country for foreigners.
Prayer Points Pray that churches and mission organizations will accept the challenge of adopting and reaching the Turks in Sudan.
Ask God to give the Turkish believers boldness to share the gospel with their own people.
Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Turks in Sudan who will boldly declare the gospel.
Pray for discipleship-based Bible studies to arise among Turks in Sudan.
References Profiles written by Global Prayer Digest