Adyghe in Turkey

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  Withheld by request
People Name: Adyghe
Country: Turkey
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 357,000
World Population: 717,100
Primary Language: Adyghe
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Caucasus
Affinity Bloc: Eurasian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Adyghes are one of the remaining tribes of a larger Muslim people group known as Circassians. The Adyghes lived in the North Caucasus region of Southern Russia for more than a thousand years. They were conquered by ethnic Russians during the Caucasus War (1817-1864). Due to the war, in the late 19th Century at least one million Circassians fled from Russia controlled areas to lands inside the Ottoman Empire. These regions include Turkey and the Middle East.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Adyghe culture has at its core the values of respect, hospitality and reverence for elders. Their identity and code of conduct come from an ancient system of rules, etiquette, and ethos known as Khabzeh. According to Khabzeh, a host is expected to give his life to protect his guests. In return guests are expected to be gracious and behave in a way that honors the host. Although the Adyghe people still regard the North Caucasus as their sacred home, a majority live outside the region. Some Adyghe still live in southern Russia. But at least 10 times that many in diaspora locations, especially in Turkey and the Middle East. Folk dances offer insight into Adyghe culture and customs. These dances tell stories about everyday life such as courtship, preparing for war, the harvest, and displaying of strength. The stories preserve Adyghe ancient history, and they are predecessors to Greek mythology, containing ancient stories of gods from southern Russia. Traditionally, Adyghe parents chose the spouse of their children. As Turkey increasingly joins the modern world, young people are choosing their own partners. Before modern times. Adyghe families were large with many children. Now parents are having fewer children as many mothers work outside the home. Many Adyghes continue to work in agriculture. Turkey is a leading exporter of nuts, fruits and vegetables. Young Adyghes are moving to the cities to work in manufacturing, construction, education and retail. Adyghe parents encourage their children to get a college degree and enter the professions. Many Adyghes are caught between observing their ancient traditions and adapting to the modern world.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Ninety eight percent of all Adyghes claim to be Sunni Muslim. Only a tiny group claims to be followers of Jesus Christ. Most Adyghe were nominal Christians from the 10th to the 17th Centuries. In the past two decades there has been a resurgence in Adyghe ethnic identity. Sunnis 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.

What Are Their Needs?

Few if any of the Adyghes have heard a clear presentation of the gospel. Believers will have to build friendships with the Adyghes and then share the good news. Adyghes will need to see the love of Christ demonstrated to them in practical ways.

Prayer Points

Pray for God to speak to Adyghe elders in dreams and visions revealing Isa and his plan of salvation. Ask the Lord to send workers to the Adyghe to tell them the good news. Pray for a movement of house church planting among the Adyghes in Turkey. Pray for wide distribution of the Azeri Bible among the community.

Text Source:   Joshua Project