Introduction / History The Turkish youths in Australia, "were uncomfortable in Turkey culturally and were even more uncomfortable in Australia. It's the same old thing, they don't belong anywhere, or at least that is how they feel." These are the words of a former missionary to the Turks in Australia.
Most of the Turks in Australia came to that country after WWII when Australia welcomed those displaced by the war. In the ensuing 60 plus years, the next generation of Turks have had enough time to feel somewhat Australian, and not as Turkish as their parents and grandparents.
One of the issues that keep them from being fully Australian is their Islamic religion. Australia is primarily Christian and secular humanist. After the July 2005 terrorist attack in London, Australians felt threatened by Muslims in their own country. Those who wanted to live by sharia (i.e., Islamic) Law in Australia were bluntly told by government officials that this was not the country for them. But like their Muslim cousins in Turkey, the ethnic Turks in Australia are usually Muslim in name only. They would not want to live under sharia Law. Though they would not think of becoming a Christian, they would not consider leaving the religion of their fathers either. They speak English, and there are plenty of Christian materials available to them.
What are their lives like? The Turks have a deep sense of nationalistic pride and love for their country. They are a very sincere people who place a high value on honor. They rely strongly on group solidarity, or trust in one's own group. Such groups would include one's village, family, friends, or schoolmates.
Turks are also a very sensitive people. For example, they do not appreciate the criticisms that Westerners sometimes write about them or about their past brutal ways. Their sensitivity can be clearly seen by comparing two proverbs of a similar theme. In the United States, a well-known proverb says, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." The Turkish proverb says, "The hurt of a stick dies away, but words hurt forever."
Inside most Turkish communities, marriages are often arranged by the parents. Weddings usually take place between two young people who are in their teens. Though marriages are not always arranged, if a university student meets someone he would like to marry at school, advice from his parents is still attained before a marriage can take place. In such a case, the "dating classmates" are not allowed to go out by themselves, but only with groups of friends. Otherwise, criticisms and rumors may spread in their communities.
Relaxation is of the utmost importance to a Turk. Coffee houses are places where men meet to talk politics, business, or to gossip. At any time of day, a Turk may be seen sitting in a garden, in a coffeehouse, or in his favorite scenic spot, enjoying the view around him, playing an instrument, or meditating.
What are their beliefs? The Turks are predominantly Muslims, believing in one God (Allah), and an eternal heaven and hell. However, Turks also have many ethnic beliefs and superstitions 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.
What are their needs? All fifteen groups of Turks living outside of Turkey have Christian resources available to them in their language. In the West, they are surrounded by a "Christian" atmosphere and environment. Sadly, however, all of these groups remain nearly all Muslim.
The Islamic religion is very difficult to influence. Under Islamic law, the penalty for a change of faith is death. The Turks who are living in Christian countries desperately need to see Christianity lived out--believers who will demonstrate the love of God towards them. How else will they understand that abundant life is found in Christ alone?
It is God's will for the Muslim Turks to come to know Him, for He "...is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9) 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 the Turkish people.
Prayer Points * Pray that Turkish Muslims in Australia will taste and see that the Lord is good.
* Pray that the Holy Spirit will use the Jesus Film and the Bible to lead them to the cross.
* Ask God to raise up loving, faithful ambassadors to the Turks in Australia.
* Pray that He will raise up intercessors who will not stop praying until there is a strong Turkish church in Australia.