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Turkmen in Iran


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Turkmen in Iran map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
749,000 Turkmen Islam 0.30 % 0.05 %   

Turkmen in Iran

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Introduction / History
Over the centuries, the Turkmen culture has been influenced by both Turkic conquerors, who imposed their language on them, and Arabs, who forced them to convert to Islam.

The main homeland of the Turkmen is the central Asian region, formerly known as Turkestan. It has long served as a meeting place for various peoples and cultures, as well as a fierce battleground for many of the great Asian conquerors including Emir, Genghis Khan, and Tamerlane.

The Kara Kum ("Black Sand") Desert lies in the center of Turkestan, and has often served as a place of refuge for the Turkmen during wartime. Since this area has very little rainfall in the winter and none in the summer, the Turkmen are forced to live near water sources.

What are their lives like?
For centuries the Turkmen lived as nomadic herdsmen. In more recent years, however, many have changed to a semi-nomadic lifestyle, living in permanent homes as well as in tents. Today most of them are farmers and cattle breeders.

The Turkmen society is definitely male-dominated. Women are restricted and often treated as second-class citizens. They are slow to speak and reserved while in the presence of men. Arranged marriages are still very common and families often inter-marry to preserve wealth. Ordinarily, a man does not separate from his father's household until he is between the ages of 30 and 40. By this time, he has been married for 10 to 20 years and has children old enough to be economically productive. Once a man has established a household of his own, he arranges the marriages of his own daughters according to their birth order.

The Turkmen are generally tall and thin. They are physically strong and easily able to endure the harshness of the environment. Although Turkmen are characterized by their hospitality, trustworthiness, and sincerity, they are also known as being hot-headed and revengeful.

Men usually wear baggy trousers, course shirts, boots, and shaggy wool hats. Women love wearing jewelry, especially anklets and bracelets. They cover their heads in fine cotton cloths (like turbans) that are also adorned with jewelry.

The Turkmen love to play "Buzjashi", a wild polo-like game played by two teams on horseback. The game, which uses the headless carcass of a goat or calf as the ball, can be very violent and go on for two or three days.

Turkmen are also well known for making beautiful carpets and rugs. Though this is usually considered to be women's work, the whole family will often share in the arduous task.

What are their beliefs?
The Iranian Turkmen are mostly Hanafi Sunni Muslims, with many Shias. Although some are devout Muslims, many others only observe Islamic rituals on ceremonial occasions such as births, marriages, or deaths. They say the Islamic prayers, but are not genuinely enthusiastic about religion. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they have been politically exploited and taxed by religion in the past.

Only about half of the adults in Iran are literate. Communication levels are low with only one telephone for every 26-30 people. Even radios are scarce, with only one for every five people. There is little awareness of Christianity among the Iranian Turkmen. They are a people who have no church, and there are only a few known Turkmen believers.

The Turkmen are a people who urgently need to hear the glorious Gospel of Christ! Presently, Christian missionary activity is restricted by the Iranian government. However, with modern technology there may be some inroads possible through satellite television and radio.

Prayer Points
* Ask the Lord to raise up missionaries to go to Iran and share Christ with the Turkmen.
* Pray that God will strengthen and encourage the small number of Iranian believers.
* Ask God to create a spiritual hunger among the Turkmen.
* Pray that God will open doors for Christian businessmen to share Christ with the Turkmen.
* Pray that laws in Iran which restrict the preaching of the Gospel will be changed.
* Ask God to raise up a strong local church among the Turkmen.

View Turkmen in all countries.

Prayer Links
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Country: Iran
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Central
Persecution Rank:9 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Northeast, Turkmenistan border area, Golestan, Khorasan-e Razavi, and Khorasan-e Shemali provinces; possibly in Mazandaran Province: Gonbad-e Kavus and Pahlavi Dezh.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Turkmen
People Name General: Turkmen
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 110306
Joshua Project People ID: 15654
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 749,000
Population all Countries: 8,158,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
People Cluster: Turkmen
People Name General: Turkmen
Ethnic Code: MSY41k
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Turkmen (749,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): tuk    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.30 %(Evangelical: 0.05 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam99.70 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent30.00 %
Protestant25.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian10.00 %
Roman Catholic35.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1880-1994
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 2017
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Audio RecordingsOnline Scripture / NT
Audio RecordingsOnline Scripture / NT
Audio RecordingsOnline Scripture / NT
Audio RecordingsOnline Scripture / Portions
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoFrom Darkness to Light - SpaSub
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Turkmen
Film / VideoMagdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / VideoMore Than Dreams-Ali
Film / VideoMy Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / VideoRivka (Jesus Film Project)
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / VideoThe Prophets' Story
GeneralGot Questions Ministry
Text / Printed MatterBible: Comic Book Version (SuperBible)
Text / Printed MatterBible: Türkmençe - Turkmen
Text / Printed MatterOnline Turkmen Bible
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Turkmen in Iran

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Turkmen     Asia, Central    
      Turkmen Iran    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Turkmen in Iran          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Turkmen  
    All Religions                              

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