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Turkey
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Overview:

The gospel spread throughout what is now Turkey in the first century, and the region remained under Christian rule for centuries, beginning in the fourth century. Now, however, less than 1 percent of Turks are Christians. Turks are proud of their nation, which has seen rapid industrial growth and modernization. Unfortunately, Islam is considered by most Turks to be part of their national identity; it is hard for them to imagine leaving Islam even if they know little about its teachings and do not practice its tenets. Christians in Turkey have limited freedom of worship. While there are few Turkish churches, believers boldly share Christ with their countrymen. Ongoing changes in Turkey’s government have limited missionary activity and increased pressure on the small Christian community.

Major Religions:

96 percent of Turks are Sunni Muslims who view Islam as a core part of their identity, even though most are not devout. Less than 1 percent of Turks are Christians.

Persecutor:

Believers face a range of challenges from family members, neighbors, employers and the government.

What It Means To Follow Christ In Turkey:

Pastors have been targeted in sophisticated assassination plots, and a missionary was murdered in 2019. Another missionary and two Turkish believers were brutally murdered in a highly publicized 2007 incident. Evangelism faces significant opposition in Turkey, and Christian converts from Islam are harassed and pressured from all sides. Believers are opposed by their families, communities and all levels of government. Mature expatriate believers — many of whom have lived in Turkey for decades — have long served in Turkish churches; however, the Turkish government has recently targeted these foreign workers for expulsion.

Access To Bibles:

Bibles can be legally printed and distributed in Turkey, but there are few distribution points. Give Bibles

VOM Work:

VOM responds to persecution and supports front-line workers’ Bible distribution and outreach efforts. Give to VOM’s Global Ministry

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for the faith and strength of believers pressured by Muslim family members.
  • Pray that the government will uphold the constitutional freedoms of Turkish churches.
  • Pray that God will raise up a new generation of bold, wise Christian leaders in Turkey.
  • Pray for ministries focused on the discipleship of Turkish Christians.
  • Pray for the comfort and direction of the many missionaries deported from Turkey.
  • Pray that God will expand his kingdom among the millions of Arab and Persian refugees living in Turkey. 
  • Pray for the success of numerous ongoing evangelistic efforts.