Turk in Bosnia-Herzegovina






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The small population of Rumelian Turk in Bosnia-Herzegovina are descendants of the Ottoman Turks who migrated from their central Asian homeland, conquered Anatolia (modern day Turkey), and eventually established the Ottoman Empire. At its peak, the empire encompassed the Balkan Mountains, Arabia, and North Africa.

The Rumelian Turk are also known as the Balkan Turk. (Rumelia means "land of the Romans" and refers to the Balkan Mountain region). Bosnia-Herzegovina was part of the Ottoman Empire for more than 400 years.

With the breakup of the empire after World War I, Bosnia-Herzegovina became part of Yugoslavia. When Bosnia-Herzegovina declared its independence in 1992, Bosnian Serbs began a civil war with the goal of removing all non-Serbs from Bosnian territory. This savage war cost the lives of over 200,00 Bosnians and forced thousands of Muslim families from their homes.

What Are Their Lives Like?

During the long Ottoman Empire reign, the Rumelian Turk often settled in Balkan towns and served as military personnel or administrators, or worked as craftsmen. After Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania became independent countries in the nineteenth century, many of the estimated 5.5 million Rumelian Turk who returned to Turkey were given land. Their Turkish villages are still referred to as "immigrant villages" by the local people.

Although the Ottoman Turk ruled the Balkans for centuries, they were always an ethnic minority. Religious, linguistic, and social differences kept them from intermarrying with the local populations in large numbers. When they did intermarry, Turkish men usually married Muslim, non-Turkish women. Polygamy (having more than one spouse) is prohibited by law.

Some Islamic traits have persisted longer in Bosnia-Herzegovina than in Turkey. For example, Bosnian Muslim women wore the veil until it was banned in 1950, and traditional Bosnian Muslim men still wear the fez (a typical cone-shaped hat). Both customs have been prohibited in Turkey since 1922.

Lamb, a favorite meat of the Turk, is typically prepared as a pilaf (rice and oil cooked with small bits of meat). Musaka (roasted meat and eggplant) and kapama (mutton with spinach and green onions) are also popular dishes. The Turk relish sweets and are especially fond of Turkish delight (a gummy confection usually cut in cubes and dusted with sugar). The Muslim religion forbids drinking alcoholic beverages; instead, the Turk drink large quantities of strong coffee and yogurt.

During and after the civil war, the United Nations supplied Bosnia-Herzegovina with some basic necessities, although food was limited by a UN sanctioned trade embargo.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Communist government that was established after World War II tolerated Muslim religious observances and institutions, including Islamic schools. However, the Muslim Turk were required to follow the compulsory state educational system. During the civil war, the Bosnian Serbs not only killed hundreds of innocent civilians, but they also destroyed scores of mosques, several well-known Islamic libraries, and other Muslim institutions.

What Are Their Needs?

Many Rumelian Turk are bitter against what they see as "Christian" (Orthodox and Roman Catholic) attempts to make them leave their homeland. They also see the inability of the "Christian" (Protestant and Roman Catholic) countries of Western Europe to intervene for their peace and stability.

The Bible, the Jesus film, and Christian radio broadcasts are all available in Turkish. However, very few of the Rumelian Turk in Bosnia-Herzegovina are known to have become Christians. With few missions agency working among them, there is little chance they will ever hear the Good News of the Gospel.

Prayer Points

* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to live and work among the Rumelian Turk of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
* Pray that God will raise up prayer teams to break up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Pray for effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Rumelian Turk.
* Ask God to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio to the Rumelian Turk.
* Ask God to use the small number of Rumelian Turk Christians to share God's love with their own people.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Rumelian Turk towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Rumelian Turk church for the glory of His name!

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Video Links:
The Followers of Isa
People Name General Turk
People Name in Country Turk
Population in Bosnia-Herzegovina 40,000
World Population 57,259,000
Countries 71
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Anatolian, Baharlu Turk, Masakhastian, Meskhetian Turk, Osmanli, Ottomon Turk, Rumelian Turk, Urum
Affinity Bloc Turkic Peoples
People Cluster Turkish
People Name General Turk
Ethnic Code MSY41j
People ID 18274
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Turkish: Danubian (40,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Turkish: Danubian 40,000
For Primary Language: Turkish

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1782-1985)
New Testament Yes   (1819-1993)
Complete Bible Yes   (1827-2006)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Turkish, Kutsal Kitap Yeni Ceviri Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
GoodSeed General
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Turkish Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Rivka (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
Turkish Language Film Film / Video
World Missionary Press Booklets Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Subdivision: Sunni

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
1.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
100.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Charles Fred   Creative Commons  
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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