Immigrants from: Turkey
Population in Australia: 58,000
Where in VIC: Broadmeadows, Sunshine, Melton, Dandenong, Casey
Religion: Islam, Secular
Christian witness: 0.24% evangelical in Australia
The Turks, sometimes called the Anatolian Turks, come from the country of Turkey and speak Turkish. They should not be confused with the wider Turkic ethno-linguistic block of people groups across Central Asia.
A few Turks started to migrate to Australia in the 1800s. The second wave of migration, from Turkish Cyprus (a British subject) in the 1940s, was perhaps up to 2,500.
There was another wave of 19,000 economic migrants from 1968-1974. There are stories of people coming to save money with the intention of returning to Turkey, but after a few years of living in Australia deciding to stay.
From that time until now families continue to invite extended family to repatriate and join them in Australia. Australia receives approximately 1000 Turks per year. There are Turkish mosques in Broadmeadows and Sunshine in Melbourne.
Turks describe themselves as being emotional, hot tempered, loud speakers and humourous. This can of course feel a little threatening to outsiders. It is helpful to know that this is normal behaviour for them, and therefore not to take it personally.
By their own admission, Turks are often stubborn and forget to sometimes apply empathy to situations, but they are also extremely kind and compassionate people.
Turks are informal and relational people. They are very sociable, placing relationships ahead of other things in life. They are easy going, not demanding, flexible, empathetic and concerned with others’ lives. To the outsider this might seem nosy, but it is actually genuine interest.
The best witness of Jesus to the Turks will be our love for one another and our desire to be relational with their community.