Area: 779,452 sq km
Straddles two continents; 3% in Europe (Thrace), 97% in Asia (Anatolia). Also controls the Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles, vital sea links between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Its strategic position has made the area of prime importance throughout history.
Population: 75,705,147 Annual Growth: 1.24%
Official language: Turkish Languages: 45 All languages
Largest Religion: Muslim
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The ancient churches survived until the beginning of the 20th Century, but have since been nearly wiped out by massacres (Armenians), severe persecution (Assyrians) and emigration (Greeks, etc). Pray for the remnant that survives for a re-kindling of faith and a work of the Holy Spirit. Numbers have been reduced to an estimated 130,000 across 12 different traditions.
Ministry to Turks outside Turkey include:
a) The millions of Turks and Kurds in Western Europe. The diaspora of Turks all approximate numbers in Germany (2.8m), France (400,000), Netherlands (350,000), UK (300,000), Austria (200,000), Belgium (150,000), Switzerland (80,000) and Sweden (40,000) are far more accessible to Christian workers but are also often more closed to the gospel. There is also a work among the 150,000 Turks in Australia. A number of churches and international agencies seek to evangelize them, but local hostility to migrant workers impedes this outreach. Organizations working outside of Turkey are OM, WEC, Frontiers, Turkish World Outreach and Orientdienst. There are possibly hundreds of born-again Turks as a result of these ministries, but more Turks still come to Jesus inside Turkey than outside. Pray for the multiplication of Turkish and Kurdish Christian groups in these areas and for them to make an impact on their homelands.
b) Turks in the Balkans. Opportunities for ministry exist among Turkish minorities in Bulgaria (>750,000), Greece (140,000), Macedonia (80,000), Serbia (50,000), and Romania (45,000). Little, if any, specific outreach is directed toward many of these minorities. Given the historical enmity between Turks and most Balkan peoples, ministry to Turkish Muslims in Orthodox-majority European countries may fall to expatriate workers, but a loving witness by born-again Balkan peoples would be a powerful testimony.
For an additional 10 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Turkey.