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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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.
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.