Most of the Deaf people in Turkey are born to parents who can hear. There are variations in the use of Turkish Sign Language in different parts of the country. In spite of this it is possible for these Deaf people and their families to understand each other. A Turkish Sign Language developed in the Ottoman Empire. The Sultan often used deaf/mute people as servants since he thought that they will be less likely to pass on any state secrets. There are few if any Christian resources are available in Turkish Sign Language.
Turkish Sign Language is a visual one. There has been little or no use of Sign Language in Deaf schools in Turkey since the early nineteen fifties. Some are now attempting to get Sign Language into Turkish schools The Turkish Federation for the Deaf was formed in the 1960s. Since then there have been many Deaf clubs where hearing impaired can meet and build friendships with each other. Hearing impaired people are often sheltered by their families. Many do not have jobs; they are taken care of by their parents or other relatives.
Turkey is officially a secular state. Sunni Islam is the religion of the vast majority among the Turkish population, including the Deaf. Sunni Muslims try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
The Deaf in Turkey need the opportunity to become all that God wants them to be. That means appropriate job training by people who love and accept them for who they are. Christians can come to the Deaf in Turkey and show them the practical love of Jesus.
Pray that Turkish believers will find ways of leading the Turkish Deaf to Jesus Christ. Pray that Turkish Sign Language will be taught in Turkish schools. Pray that the Bible and other material will be translated into Turkish Sign Language. Pray that all Deaf people in Turkey will have the opportunity to hear a clear presentation of the gospel.
Scripture Prayers for the Deaf in Turkey.
|Profile Source: Joshua Project|
|People Name General||Deaf|
|People Name in Country||Deaf|
|Population this Country||428,000|
|Population all Countries||48,824,000|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|Frontier People Group||No|
|GSEC||1 (per PeopleGroups.org)|
|Pioneer Workers Needed||9|
|National Bible Society||Website|
|Persecution Rank||42 (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)|
|Primary Language||Turkish Sign Language (428,000 speakers)|
|Language Code||tsm Ethnologue Listing|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent|
|Christianity (Evangelical Unknown)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|