Karachay in Türkiye (Turkey)

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

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Introduction / History

Over the past 600 years the Karachai people have experienced life much like a grape placed in a wine press. Formerly part of the once mighty Alan Empire (nominally Christian), the Karachai were defeated in the 14th Century and forcibly converted to Islam by the Turko-Mongol invader Timur. Conquered again in the 19th Century by Russian czarist imperialism, the Karachai people are all too familiar with distress brought about by defeat at the hands of invading nations. During World War II they were swallowed up by the German advance through the Caucasus, only to be re-conquered by Stalin's Soviets shortly thereafter. The Karachais began to migrate to Turkey in 1886 and 1905. Due to their "acceptance" of German rule, Stalin then deported the Karachai--numbering roughly 80,000 at the time--from their Caucasus homeland to remote parts of Central Asia 1943-1957. Despite 35 percent of their population dying during the forced relocation, many Karachai have returned to their homeland and have begun repopulating their home area in the Russian province of Karachai-Cherkessia. Smaller numbers of the Karachai people are in neighboring countries: Turkey, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Where Are they Located?

The area where they live is the source of the Cherek River in the east. It stretches from the basin to the source basin of the Laba River in the west and forms the steepest and highest part of the Caucasus Mountains.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Karachai have preserved much of their heritage due to their Islamic cultural identity and their clan-organized communities, called Tukhum. Fiercely loyal within their Tukhum, Karachai have maintained strong family and cultural traditions best observed in weddings, funerals and over-the-top hospitality toward guests. Nevertheless, realizing population growth and retaining cultural identifiers have not changed the Karachai's position on the global stage, or the state of well-being within their society. Karachai culture, on the one hand, is devoted to 'duty'—but, on the other hand, is plagued by cycles of vengeance, corruption, and male drunkenness. Karachai Islamic traditions are a largely "graceless" dynamic, with no clear understanding of forgiving grace and no indwelling Holy Spirit to revitalize.

What Are Their Beliefs?

At present there are less than 50 known Karachai followers of Jesus and only one evangelical church. The New Testament and Psalms in the Karachai language was completed in the 1990s.

Prayer Points

Pray that in their distress the Karachai will turn to the Lord Jesus, not for political power, but for spiritual deliverance from the devastations of sin and past suffering. Pray that Jesus followers will multiply as joyful lives are modeled by believers, and that numerous churches will be firmly established as the body of Christ grows amongst the Karachai in both Russia and Turkey. Pray for men and women of peace (Lk 10:6) in each Karachai town/village, to be keys to welcoming the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit into each community in the years ahead. Pray that the Karachai New Testament and Psalms will spread throughout the culture to open hearts. Pray that the love of God will continue to 'disturb' the Karachai people, inviting them away from sin and judgment and toward the marvelous grace of Jesus and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. Pray that the beauty of Karachai culture will bloom as the Fruit of the Spirit enlivens the historical richness of these people.

Scripture Prayers for the Karachay in Türkiye (Turkey).


http://www.globalprayerdigest.org/issue/day/2010/03/21 http://www.globalprayerdigest.org/issue/day/2009/03/18

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  
Other PDF Profile

People Name General Karachay
People Name in Country Karachay
Pronunciation kare-uh-CHYE
Alternate Names Alan; Karachai
Population this Country 21,000
Population all Countries 250,000
Total Countries 4
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 12521
ROP3 Code 104628
Country Türkiye (Turkey)
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 41  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Centered in the city of Afyonkarahisar   Source:  Wikipedia article
Country Türkiye (Turkey)
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 41  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Centered in the city of Afyonkarahisar.   Source:  Wikipedia article
Map of Karachay in Türkiye (Turkey)
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Karachay-Balkar (21,000 speakers)
Language Code krc   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Karachay-Balkar (21,000 speakers)
Language Code krc   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Karachay-Balkar

Primary Language:  Karachay-Balkar

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1978-1995)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1994-2020)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Karachay-Balkar Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Karachay-Balkar YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter IBT, Russia - resources Institute for Bible Translation - Russia
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source People Group location: Bilal Selim Filiz. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.