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
|Religion||Pop %||Ann Gr|
The work of evangelization began in 1821, but was soon directed to the more receptive non-Muslim minorities in hopes of reaching the majority through them. The 1970s and 1980s were very difficult for Christian workers, but in the 1990s, more encouraging results began to occur. Increased opposition since 2006 has slowed church growth. Pray for:
a) Those who are called, equipped and gifted for tentmaking ministries in this land where sharing the gospel must be done with tact and sensitivity, but also with boldness and clarity. Business as mission is a growing area, but faces challenges with visas, taxes and unethical business competition. Being a Christian worker in Turkey is not an easy ministry, despite its rewards. Pray for each worker to have a good testimony that glorifies Christ and shows love and respect for the people of Turkey.
b) Opportunities for ministry that expose the whole country to the gospel. Most Christian expatriates engage in teaching, study, business or enter on tourist visas. Few have ever lived in eastern Anatolia, the Black Sea coast or the interior provinces these are some of the spiritually hardest places for Christians to live and minister. Pray that Christ-like lives of service and love may help break down long-held barriers to the gospel.
c) More than 50 agencies, with around 1,350 expatriates from over 20 countries, share a specific burden and calling to bring blessing to the Turkish people. Pray for the continuance of fruitful cooperation among them.
d) Advocacy networks promote the evangelistic challenge of Turkey and connect churches and organizations to this goal. They also engage in research, leadership development and prayer mobilization, and include International Turkey Network and SILAS Ministries.
Other means of witness are bearing fruit and need prayerful support. Relational evangelism remains the most effective and widespread way of reaching out to this highly social culture. This can be supplemented by:
a) Bible translation. Two Turkish NT translations published in 1988/89 were well received. A new translation of the Bible Kutsal Kitap, completed in 2001 has been widely appreciated and distributed, as has a study Bible based on this translation launched in 2010. Over 500,000 Turkish NTs have been distributed throughout the country.
b) Bible correspondence courses are effective at reaching seekers in a discreet fashion.
c) Christian bookstores around the country. While providing a good opportunity for all to browse and purchase Bibles and Christian material, such shops are subject to fear of vandalism, violence and media opposition.
d) Christian literature. Several Turkish Christian publishing houses produce Bibles, magazines and hundreds of book titles. Literature is often well received, but distributors are sometimes threatened by extremists. There is a great need for Turkish Christian authors.
e) Christian radio. Easing of regulatory controls opened the way for a number of Christian radio stations run locally on FM, 24 hours a day. International broadcasters also have significant input. TWR, partnering with IBRA, broadcasts 15 hours per week.
f) Two TV channels (Kanal Hayat and Turk 7) on satellite are potentially reaching millions with the gospel, both in Turkey and in neighbouring countries, including Europe. Response is encouraging. Follow-up correspondence courses tie into the programmes on these channels.
g) Internet evangelism is another effective means of reaching people, through Christian websites in Turkish, the online Turkish NT, as well as chat rooms. Pre-evangelism, apologetics and even discipleship can be conducted virtually and with anonymity from any location.
h) Telephone and Internet ministry. Telephone hotlines and online chat rooms, running in multiple cities and staffed by Turkish believers, receive many enquiries seeking prayer and guidance and requesting NTs.
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.