Turk, Meskhetian in Ukraine






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Meskhetian Turks in Ukraine are a Muslim people originally form the western edge of Georgia (Meskhetia) and were exiled to Uzbekistan by Stalin in 1944. In 1991 they faced ethnic conflict and so dispersed to various different parts of the former Soviet Union. Currently, they are scattered across Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine. Some have also ended up in America in light of further ethnic conflict in Russia. Their culture, heritage and language are important to them although they have also made a home for themselves in Ukraine.

Where Are they Located?

The Meskhetian Turks live in the oblasts of Donetsk, Kherson and Mikolaiv, which are located in the South and East of Ukraine. Most of them moved here from Uzbekistan about 20 years ago (although some came later from Russia). A few have also come intermittently since that time. Most of the Meskhetian Turks live in rural villages as farmers with a few from the younger generation who have gone to nearby cities to pursue further education.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The lives of most Meskhetian Turks are tied to the land. They often farm the land and sell their vegetables in nearby centers while others are involved in cattle farming. This is a continuation of their traditional way of life which was preserved in their time in Uzbekistan, although their language and cuisine has been influenced by their time in the former Soviet Union. Community and family are very important and weddings (which are usually in the fall) and other special occasions are opportunities for the community to gather and celebrate. Women tend to be at home or work near the home and are responsible for the children. It is still important for women to cover their heads and wear long clothing, although this is observed with various degrees strictness. In contrast to surrounding Ukrainians, they have larger families (often 3 or more children). However, generally they have good relationships with their Ukrainian neighbors.

What Are Their Beliefs?

They are Sunni Muslims with a reasonable level of observance in their communities, having retained their religion through turmoil but also having been influenced by secularism of the former Soviet Union. Most men attend mosque every Friday and all are observant of major Muslim holidays. The mosque also acts as a cultural center in which people can meet and discuss issues. In addition, because of their troubled history, peace and the basic needs of life are very important to them. Some feel a strong connection to Turkey as their homeland and many have immigrated there, while others feel that Ukraine has now become their homeland.

Prayer Points

* Pray for openness to the gospel and outsiders.
* Pray that they would see that following Christ does not conflict with their ethnic identity.
* Pray for wisdom in getting the Scripture into their hands in their own language.
* Pray that TESL would be effectively used to point people toward Christ.


"Meskhetian Turks," Cultural Profile No. 20, 2006, Center for Applied Linguistics

Notes: Their primarily language is Turkish, not Ukrainian. Turkish is still spoken in the home and although older children are completely bilingual, most small children go to school without knowing Ukrainian. It has yet to be observed how deeply their Turkish has been influenced by living in Uzbekistan and other places in the former Soviet Union. Moreover, the Meskhetian Turks were removed from proximity with Turkey more than sixty years ago and so how widely Meskhetian Turkish diverges from current standard Turkish has yet to be observed. Also, their population in Ukraine is probably greater than 10,000, although it is difficult to know exactly.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

Expanded PDF Profile

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2015-03-23
People Name General Turk, Meskhetian
People Name in Country Turk, Meskhetian
Population in Ukraine 3,600
World Population 163,000
Countries 9
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names
Affinity Bloc Turkic Peoples
People Cluster Turkish
People Name General Turk, Meskhetian
Ethnic Code MSY41j
People ID 20631

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Enthologue Language Map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Ukrainian (3,600)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Ukrainian 3,600
For Primary Language: Ukrainian

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1869-1942)
New Testament Yes   (1880-1997)
Complete Bible Yes   (1903-2007)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible Gateway Scripture Text / Printed Matter
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Біблія в пер. Івана Огієнка, 1962 Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Біблія в пер. П.Куліша та І.Пулюя, 1905 Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Новітній переклад Біблії О.Гижі Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Свята Біблія [Новий Заповіт]: Сучасною Мовою Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Text / Printed Matter
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Gods Simple Plan General
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Ukrainian Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Online Scripture (Talking Bibles) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
Primary Religion: Islam

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Anonymous  
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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