Introduction / History The Turks originated in Turan, a region that lies between the Caspian Sea and the Mongolian Desert. Even before the mighty Ottoman Empire, Turks had settled among Arabic-speaking people, and they have long since assimilated with them. 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 lamented by Muslim fundamentalists. Over twenty 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 that time, Turks have gone to prosperous parts of the Arab world for work, including Bahrain and Kuwait. As Turkey faces increasing political and social changes in the latter part of the 2010s, we might see more Turks going elsewhere.
Where are they located? Turks live mainly in Turkey, but some are in other parts of the world. Those who reside in Bahrain tend to be in the capital city of Manama.
What are their lives like? The typical urban Turk in Manama 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 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. They can easily become offended when reminded of the excesses of the Ottoman Empire.
Most of the Turks have dark hair and brown eyes, but there is no distinctive physical type because of intermarriage with surrounding peoples. In fact, some have blond or red hair and blue eyes.
What are their beliefs? The Turks of Bahrain 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. They also believe that if a woman puts fish oil around a door and a man walks through it, he will love her for the rest of his life.
What are their needs? Although the Turks of Bahrain have Christian resources (both the Bible and the JESUS Film have been translated into Turkish) available to them in their language, 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 Turks, be they in Turkey, Bahrain, or Kuwait.
Negative attributes of modern urban life in Manama can lead to identity crises, which in turn can lead individuals to Christ, to fundamentalist Islam, or to destruction.
Prayer Points * Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies focusing on the Turks, no matter where they live.
* Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Turkish diaspora who will boldly declare the gospel.
* Pray that many Turks living abroad will be reached with the gospel and will take it back to Turkey.
* Pray for a Disciple-Making movement to spread throughout the Turkish diaspora, and eventually even lead to disciples in Turkey itself.