Turk, Meskhetian in Türkiye (Turkey)

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People Name: Turk, Meskhetian
Country: Türkiye (Turkey)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 23,000
World Population: 306,500
Primary Language: Turkish
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Turkish
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Meskhetian Turks originated in Georgia on the border with Turkey. They are named after a province called Meskheti. Though nomadic Turkic tribes had long since settled in Meskheti, it was the Turkish military expedition of 1578 that led to these people being thought of as a separate people group.

During the rule of Soviet Dictator Josef Stalin, the Meskhetian Turks were spread out throughout Central Asia. Most remain in these Central Asian nations, though some are now in Turkey. They once had highly productive farms, but they lost these when they were moved hundreds of miles east during WWII. They are still feeling the ill effects from that time. Many hope to get back to their homeland in Georgia where much of their farmland is still fallow decades later. However, the Georgians are not welcoming "Turks" at this time, so it would probably be best for them to migrate to Turkey if at all possible.

Where Are they Located?

Today they are spread throughout several of the former Soviet republics of Georgia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine. A small number of them reside in Turkey. Some are hoping to relocate to Turkey from the Central Asian nations.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Because their lives were radically disrupted during WWII, and they are still trying to deal with the after affects, the Meskhetian Turks highly value social cohesiveness. They are hoping for a cultural rebirth. They feel a strong need to become united with one another, though that is very difficult given the fact they are scattered throughout Central Asia.

They have been banned from living in cities, and few have been part of an intellectual community. This is a rural people known for their abilities to produce excellent crops.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Meskhetian Turks are Sunni Muslims with a small minority of Shi 'ite Muslims among them. They perform Muslim rituals, but also have their own pre-Islamic practices which involve superstitions, sorcery, and magic. Some wear amulets and "protective" talismans. As far as we know there are no followers of Christ among them in Turkey.

What Are Their Needs?

The Meskhetian Turks in Turkey need the chance to hear that Jesus is the only one who can save sinners. They need to know that He is worthy of all praise and devotion.

Prayer Points

Pray that God would give new spiritual awareness to the Meskhetian Turks in all of the places they call home.
Pray that new, positive relationships will begin between them and God's people.
Pray that the church will be intentional about reaching Meskhetian Turks.
Pray for a disciple-making movement among the Meskhetian Turks in Turkey.

Text Source:   Keith Carey