Turk in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

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  

People Name General Turk
People Name in Country Turk
Population in Bosnia-Herzegovina 40,000
World Population 59,423,500
Total Countries 70
Indigenous No
Unreached Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Progress Scale 1
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Alternate Names Anatolian, Baharlu Turk, Masakhastian, Meskhetian Turk, Osmanli, Ottomon Turk, Rumelian Turk, Urum, तुर्क
People ID 18274
ROP3 Code 113818
Primary Language Turkish (40,000 speakers)
Language Code tur   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Danubian
Dialect Code 17816   Global Recordings Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Other People Groups Speaking Turkish
Primary Language Turkish (40,000 speakers)
Language Code tur   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Danubian
Dialect Code 17816   Global Recordings Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Turkish

Primary Language:  Turkish

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1782-1985)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1819-1993)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1827-2006)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon National Bible Societies
Forum of Bible Agencies World Bible Finder
Gospel Go World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name New
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Bir Ibadet Toplantisi (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Fathers Love Letter
Film / Video Followers of Isa (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Turkish
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video More Than Dreams-Ali (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Rivka (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Prophets Story (Indigitube.tv)
General Four Spiritual Laws
General GoodSeed
General Got Questions Ministry
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Turkish, Kutsal Kitap Yeni Ceviri
Text / Printed Matter World Missionary Press Booklets
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 Garry Knight  Creative Commons  Used with permission
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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