Prayer Profile
The Turk of Turkey


The Turk originated in Turan, a region that lies between the Caspian Sea and the Mongolian Desert. They arrived in Antolia, Turkey (Asia Minor) in the eleventh century as conquering warriors. By the year 1299, the Ottoman Dynasty began ruling over what would soon become a vast empire. Over twenty states fell under the Ottoman rule, including Southern Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Saudi Arabia. This huge empire lasted until Turkey became a republic in 1923.

Because of its location, Turkey is considered to be a "link" between the Orient (Chinese and Mongols) and the Occidatal (Anglo-Saxons, Slavs, Goths, and Latins). The Turk, therefore, have a knowledge and mixture of both Eastern and Western cultures.

Most of the Turk in Turkey have dark hair and brown eyes, but there is no distinctive physical type because of intermarriage with the surrounding peoples. In fact, some have blond or red hair and blue eyes.

What are their lives like?
Some of the Turkish men and women in Turkey are doctors, lawyers, architects, or engineers. However, the majority are peasants, living in villages and using natural resources to earn a living. Some of the peasants live as nomads, moving their sheep from place to place in search of greener pastures and dwelling in tents or huts.

For many of the peasants in Turkey, the clothes they work in, their homemade tools, and their livestock are their only possessions. Those who specialize in export crops or combine farming with a seasonal job, however, may become quite wealthy and even donate money to charities. The peasant communities that are located along the lush coastal plains or the low foothills by the seas usually live comfortable lives as farmers. However, those that live among the salt marshes lead more difficult lives.

The Turk men work outside while the women spin yarn, dry fruits and vegetables for winter, prepare meals for their families, care for the children, and do the household chores. They also sometimes help with the men's work. Children help their parents with the outside duties if no school is located in their community. They may ride in ox-drawn grain carts or help make colorful knots in rugs.

The diet of the Turk consists of a heavy bread, olives, cheese from sheep or buffalo milk, onions, molasses from grapes, fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Meats such as fish, wild game, or poultry are only eaten once a week. Wealthier peasants may also eat lamb and beef, but Islam prohibits them from eating pork.

Village social life includes picnics, barbecues, and betting on horse races, cock fights, and wrestling matches. Soccer is Turkey's most popular sport. Children enjoy games such as hide-and-seek and follow-the-leader. They also love to hear fairy tales.

Relaxation is of the utmost importance to the Turk. Coffee houses are places where men meet to visit and talk politics or business. In general, the Turk are courteous, gentle people who readily show hospitality to strangers. They are also very patriotic and have a deep sense of nationalistic pride and love for their country.

What are their beliefs?
The Turk of Turkey are predominantly Muslim, believing in one god (Allah), and an eternal heaven and hell. However, they also have many ethnic beliefs and superstitions as well. For example, they believe that men have the power to curse others by giving them the "evil eye." They believe that one is protected against such a curse by wearing blue beads, which the evil eye cannot face. Another way to avoid this cursing glare is to spit in a fire and pray to Allah. They also believe that if a woman puts fish oil around a door and a man walks through it, he will love her for the rest of his life.

What are their needs?
Although the Turk of Turkey have Christian resources available to them in their language and seven missions agencies currently working among them, they remain 99.9% Muslim. Under Islamic law, the penalty for a change of faith is death. Prayer alone has the power to break through the strongholds of Islam. Intercessors are needed to daily stand in the gap and pray for the salvation of these precious people.

Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Turkey and share Christ with the Turk.
  • Pray that churches and missions organizations will accept the challenge of adopting and reaching the Turk.
  • Ask God to give the Turk believers boldness to share the Gospel with their own people.
  • Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are targeting the Turk.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Turk bound.
  • Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Turk who will boldly declare the Gospel.
  • Pray that God will begin revealing Himself to the Turk through dreams and visions.
  • Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Turk by the year 2000.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Turk
  • Country: Turkey
  • Their language: Turkce (Osmanli)
  • Population: (1990) 37,138,100
    (1995) 41,009,300
    (2000) 44,850,800
  • Largest religion: Muslim (Hanafite) 85%
    Muslim (Alawite) 14.9%
  • Christians: <1%
  • Church members: 8,202
  • Scriptures in their own language: Bible
  • Jesus Film in their own language: Available
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 7
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 19,282,600 (47%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 1,238,500 (3%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 18,044,100 (44%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 21,726,700 (53%)
  • Country: Turkey
  • Population: (1990) 56,097,700
    (1995) 61,945,200
    (2000) 67,747,900
  • Major peoples in size order: Turk 66.2%
    Northern Kurd 8.8%
    Turkish Kurd 8%
    Crimean Tatar 7%
    Levantine Arab 1.8%
  • Major religions: Muslims 99.4%
    Nonreligious 0.3%
    Christians 0.2%
  • Number of denominations: 34

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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