Introduction / History The Meskhetian Turks are a Turkish people originally from a part of southern Georgia that borders Turkey. They are named after a province called Meskheti. Though nomadic Turkic tribes had long since settled in Meskheti, it was the Turkish military expedition of 1578 that led to these people being thought of as a separate people group.
Under Josef Stalin's policies during the time of the Soviet Union, the Meskhetian Turks were forcefully deported to Central Asia, where they experienced discrimination and civil rights abuses. When they were finally permitted to return to their homeland, Georgia did not allow them to resettle there. Most are scattered today.
Where are they located? Today these people live in several countries, including Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, with the largest population in Russia. A few live in Ohio, a state in the US.
What are their lives like? Meskhetian Turks in Uzbekistan are often farmers or herders. Those who live in cities tend to be shop owners. There have been pogroms in Uzbekistan against the Meskhetian Turks; the most recent one being in 1989. When local nationalism is stirred up and jealousies arise, sometimes there is violence against the Meskhetian Turks, who tend to be relatively prosperous because of their strong work ethic. They sometimes pretend to be Uzbeks to avoid possible persecution.
What are their beliefs? They are Muslim, but many of their traditions contain a mixture of Muslim, Caucasian, and Russian elements.
What are their needs? If ever a people have needed the powerful love of Jesus to encourage, comfort, and bless, it would be the Meskhetian Turks.
Prayer Points * Pray that representatives of Jesus' love and grace would recognize the 'people of peace' (Luke 10:6) among the Meskhetian Turks and build many relationships into culture through them.
* Pray for breakthroughs for Jesus in whole family circles and clans.
* Pray for a huge disciple making movement to break out among the Meskhetian Turks wherever they live.