• Pray for a radical change in deep-seated prejudices and biases against Christianity.
• Pray for wise leadership to peacefully navigate tensions between nationalists, radical Islamists, and Kurds.
• Pray for the Gospel to advance in power amid increased hostilities and persecution.
A mix of antiquity and innovation, the nation of Turkey combines modernized industry with traditional agriculture to be the sixteenth largest economy in the world. Simultaneously one of the poorer nations of Europe yet also the most developed of the Turkic countries in Central and Western Asia, Turkey has acted as a bridge between these two worlds while remaining separate from either.
In spite of growth, the economy continues to be hindered by a high deficit and is dependent on unreliable, short-term investments. The Kurdish people, who compose nearly one fifth of the total population within Turkey, are in dispute with the Turks over ethnic recognition. Although the Kurdish language can legally be used in print and spoken in public settings, the government will often prosecute Kurd speakers and confiscate publications under the guise of prohibiting separatist propaganda. In response, the Kurds have sometimes violently demanded cultural rights, resulting in conflicts that have taken the lives of over thirty thousand people since the early 1980's. Security forces are also fighting narcotics trafficking from Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan into Europe.
Even though it was one of the earliest mission fields and home to many New Testament churches, hostility and persecution of Christians is strong in Turkey. It is culturally accepted that to be a Turk, one must be Muslim, even if nominally so, and over 98 percent claim the faith. Muslim extremists, government intimidation, and family pressure discourage many from coming to Christ and there is a deep national resentment towards Christianity, making evangelism more difficult. Even in the midst of persecution, God still stands, and He is calling out to His people of Turkey to accept the love and peace that only comes from him.
Capital City: Ankara
Government: Presidential republic
Major People Groups: 62% Turk; 17% Northern Kurd (Kermanji); 7% Crimean Tatar; 2% Dimili Kurd (Southern Zaza); 2% Turkish Gypsy (Cingane)
Religion: Muslim 98%, Agnostic 1%
Language: Turkish, Kurdish, Zaza, Arabic
GDP Per Capita: $28,400
Literacy Rate: 97%
POPULATION IN UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS: 99.1%
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