The Turkmen are a large people group that exist throughout the Middle East. They have many different tribes, and differ greatly from the Turks in both language and in culture.
The Turkmen I am referring to are not the Turkmen of Turkmenistan but rather the Turkmen of Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and even Egypt. The Turkmen of the Middle East speak a language that is somewhere between Ottoman Turkish and Azeri. The more east you travel the more it becomes like Azeri.
When you speak with Turkmen of Jordan and Lebanon, you hear more Turkish influence than if you speak to Turkmen of Iraq.
Nonetheless, there still exists no translation of the Bible for this large and neglected people group. Nor do they have yet a Jesus film.
When I first started to reach out to this large people group I attempted to give them audio bibles. This has limited success. Since, most Turkmen watch Turkish television it seemed to make sense that they would simply need the Bible in audio form. However, they were not able to understand deeper teachings or non story passages.
The language differs greatly from tribe to tribe and from region to region, however it is possible to make a bible in a way that is understandable across boundaries.
In the city of Irbil, the Turkmen make up roughly 20 to 25% of the population. While visiting there, I found this number quite accurate as I was able to find them everywhere. Yet in the Church they are still at 0%.
When you go to Kirkuk you find that the Turkmen are the majority of the population and yet still in the evangelical Church they are still 0%.
So far, doing nothing to reach out to them has not really worked. We need to work on getting materials translated into their heart language.
A translated version of the Gospel of John can be found here IncilTurkmani.org
Filed under: evangelism