Documentary Film based on Gibson's book: Qur'anic Geography The Sacred City from Glasshouse Media on Vimeo. THE TURKOMEN OF JORDAN
There are around 2000 Turkomen living in Jordan. They are nomadic people who live in brightly colored tents. There are usually five to twenty tents in an encampment.
On the right is a picture of Hussein and his brothers outside of their tent. At the time of this picture the tent was located on the Naur road beside a cement factory.
Hussein shared some valuable insights with us about the Turkomen. They have Jordanian citizenship and carry Jordanian passports and family books. As Jordanians, they have access to doctors, hospitals, and the education system. However, since they are nomadic people most school will not accept their children, as they have no fixed address and might move after a few weeks or months. Hussein expressed interested in having a teacher live and move with them, and hold school in a tent for the kids. The curriculum would have to be very flexible and adjusted to fit each child's needs and the kids would come and go. Hussein told us that there were several differences between Turkomen, Bedouin and Gypsies. All spoke different languages at home. The Turkomen did not take blood money for a killing, and they were more peace loving than the others. Gypsies were dirty, their men didn't work, and the women and kids begged. Gypsy women were also usually bad. He said that Gypsy tents were usually dirty and torn and Gypsies didn't keep their camp clean. Hussein said that there had been some Iraqi Gypsies camped near them for several days, but the day before we saw him, they had moved. Hussein said that some Turkomen have houses in Turkey, although he wasn't clear in where these were. He also said that the Turkomen kids did not go to school as they moved too much. One of the camps had just moved it's location and a second was in the process of moving. Today, two weeks after our visit these camps have all moved. Hussein said that a lot of pressure was put on them by local municipalities who didn't want migrants in their territory.
When we asked Hussein what they did in the winter when it was cold, he said that they all moved to the Jordan Valley. He said the Turkomen and Gypsies usually camped in the south end of the valley, near to each other but not too near. Gypsy men fought often, and their women were no good.
Every year the men travel to Istanbul or Iraq to buy wool rugs and leather jackets. These men then sell these goods on the streets.
Their leader is known as Abu Wawi, and his tent was pointed out to us. Hussein took us to a second encampment of Turkomen. Turkomen are very different from both the gypsies and the Bedouin. They have single room tents, clean encampments, and clean bright clothing. We later visited some gypsy tents that Hussein had pointed out. We discovered however, that the people living in these tents were Jordanian refugees from Iraq who had no houses to live in. These refugees looked Jordanian and spoke to us in perfect Arabic. Most Turkomen and Gypsies speak Arabic with an accent.
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