Herki in Turkey



Population

38,700

Christian

Evangelical

0.00%

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


Introduction / History

The Herki Kurd are actually part of a much greater Kurd population. The Kurds are made up of a number of clans, tribes, and tribal confederations, many of which have been in existence for thousands of years. This large people group shares several important and common ties. Not only do they speak closely related languages, but they also share a common culture, geographical homeland, and sense of identity. Kurdish people are basically more alike than are other people groups, and they feel it.

The Herki Kurd are a confederacy of tribes of Northern Kurdistan. They live primarily in the mountainous area where the borders of Turkey, Iran, and Iraq meet, near Lake Urmia and the town of Orumiyeh. These various tribes and clans are distinguished by the languages they speak. The Herki language is possibly a dialect of Kurmanji. Apart from the Herki Kurd of Turkey, other large communities can also be found in Iran and Iraq.


What are Their Lives Like?

Kurdish society is mainly rural, with most people making their living from farming and raising livestock. Most of them are fairly settled; however, some still practice a semi-nomadic lifestyle, moving from place to place with their herds of goats and sheep. The nomadic shepherds move into the mountain areas during the summer and down to the plains in the winter.

Although their farming methods seem primitive and their technology outdated, the Herki Kurd are fairing well in Turkey's rugged terrain. Cotton, sugar beets, and tobacco, are grown for both the Turkish market and export.

In recent times, particularly since the early 1930's, the primitive, tribal organizations of the Herki Kurd have been largely suppressed by the Turkish government. As a result, many of the nomads have moved from the rural, economically depressed areas into the cities. There, industry provides jobs for about a small percentage of the population, while the others are engaged in trade, services, and craft work.

The daily diet of the Kurd is built around bread, dairy products, dates, tea, and meat. The wealthy have a more varied diet. Pork and alcoholic beverages are tabooed.

The Herki Kurd are noted for their elaborate national costumes. The men's costumes consist of baggy, colored trousers and plain shirts with huge sleeves split at the wrist and tied at the elbow. Brightly colored vests and sashes are also worn. Women usually wear heavy clothing that is embroidered with vivid colors. Today, many rural Kurd have abandoned their native costumes for western style dress.


What are Their Beliefs?

Nearly all Kurds are Muslims, most being Shafite Sunnis. They first embraced Islam after the Arab conquests of the seventh century. Today, they look to Islam as a basis for social justice.

Even among the Sunni Kurds, there are traces of an earlier pagan and violent type faith which sets them apart from other Muslims. In the rural areas, a few still believe in jinnis (spirits capable of assuming human or animal forms) and demons. Many are also involved in elements of animal worship.

Mullahs (Muslim spiritual leaders) play an important role in the social and cultural life of those living in the country. Until recent times, mullahs would act as village witch doctors, performing ceremonies and reciting chants to drive out madness or cure the sick.

Religious fraternities still operate throughout this region of the world. In the past, some influential sheiks (spiritual leaders) even became members of parliament. However, their authority eventually began to crumble. Today, their spiritual and economic power is being challenged.


What are Their Needs?

The Islamic faith is extremely hard to influence with the Gospel. Although a number of missions agencies are focusing on the Herki Kurd of Iraq and Turkey, very little progress has been made among them.


Prayer Points

* Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Turkey and share Christ with the Herki Kurd.
* Pray that the Holy Spirit will give the missions agencies strategies for reaching these Muslims with the Gospel.
* Ask God to use the small number of Herki Kurd believers as a clear Gospel witness to their own people.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften their hearts towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Pray that God will open the hearts of Turkey's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up a strong local church among the Herki Kurd.


Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-11-14
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-11-27
People Name General Herki
People Name in Country Herki
Population in Turkey 39,000
World Population 96,000
Countries 3
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged or Unknown Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Herki Kurd
Affinity Bloc Persian-Median
People Cluster Kurd
People Name General Herki
Ethnic Code CNT24c
People ID 12086
Country Turkey
Region Central Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Hakkari, Siirt, Mardin, Agri, Diyarbakir, Bitlis, Bingol, Van, Adiyaman, and Mus; also Urfa, Kars, Tunceli, Malatya, Erzurum, Marash, Sivas, and other provinces; central Turkey: Cankiri, Cihanbeyli, near Konya; many in Istanbul, Adana, Ankara, Izmir.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
People Group Map Herki in Turkey

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Kurdish, Northern (39,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Kurdish, Northern 39,000
Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1856-2010)
New Testament Yes   (1872-2005)
Complete Bible Yes   (2008)
Audio Bible Online
Format Resource
Audio Recordings Global Recordings
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Kurdish, Northern
Film / Video Kermanji Kurd Language Film
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video The Hope Video
General Got Questions Ministry
General Kurdish Ministry Resources
Scripture Bible-in-Your-Language
Scripture International Bible Society

Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.30 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
99.70 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
0.0 %
Orthodox
70.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
Protestant
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
30.0 %
Photo Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
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