Tatar, Crimean in Turkey

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People Name: Tatar, Crimean
Country: Turkey
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 112,000
World Population: 610,600
Primary Language: Crimean Tatar
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.05 %
Evangelicals: 0.01 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Ural-Siberian
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Crimean Tatars are descendants of the Mongols who swept through eastern Europe in the thirteenth century. They are part of a much greater Tatar population but speak a different language and live in different areas. Large numbers of Crimean Tatars can be found in Turkey, Romania, Uzbekistan, and the Ukraine.
Crimean Tatar history has been both complex and turbulent. For many years they endured hardship, oppression, and injustice. By the end of the 1440s, the Crimean Khanate was established on the Crimean Peninsula. Russia annexed the peninsula in 1783, at which time more than a million Crimean Tatars fled to the culturally near Turkish-based Ottoman Empire. Others moved to Turkey after the Crimean War in 1853-56, and more still after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. More Crimean Tatars are in Turkey than Russia.

What Are Their Lives Like?

One of the interesting dilemmas for Crimean Tatars in Turkey is that of identity. Are they Tatars or Turks? Some would consider the Crimean Tatars to be assimilated with the Turks. Crimean Tatar children have been learning Turkish, not their elder's language in Turkish schools, and every generation is becoming more Turkish. Among the common people, there is very little in the way of new Crimean Tatar literature being developed, and more of them are intermarrying with the Turks. Others would say they are a hybrid culture. There are Crimean Tatar nationalists in Turkey, but they are mostly from the elitists, not from the common people. It's hard to keep Crimean Tatar nationalism on the front of the younger generations minds when they have never been to the Crimean Peninsula but have always lived in Turkey. The younger generation is more likely to view Crimean Tatar nationalism as an interesting cause, not part of their identity.
The Crimean Tatars have good relations with the Turkish majority. The Turkish government has publicly called Stalin's 1944 mass deportation of Crimean Tatars genocide. They also stood with today's Crimean Tatars when Russia took the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Crimean Tatars have been Sunni Muslims for centuries. Their negative experience with Russian Orthodox Christians makes it very difficult for them to consider the claims of Christ. Meanwhile, they are getting along very well in Turkey with the Sunni Muslim majority.

What Are Their Needs?

The Crimean Tatars need to find their way to Jesus Christ who can give them an identity in him that will help them have abundant life.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Crimean Tatars to receive justice and mercy so that their needs will be met.
Pray for the Lord to reveal himself to Crimean Tatars who are willing to seek and find the only Savior.
Pray for Holy Spirit-driven workers to go to the Crimean Tatars in Turkey.
Pray for a movement to Christ among the Crimean Tatars in Turkey.

Text Source:   Joshua Project