For the past almost two years, my wife and I have lived in Turkey. We have had the opportunity to visit several places and see and meet people from all over Turkey. Most people when they think of Turkey think of the Middle East or deserts. But Turkey is much different than most of the Middle East and does not even have a desert! Turkey is a beautiful country with mountains and breath-taking natural beauty. A large majority of Turkey is farm land that produces fruits, nuts and vegetables that go all around the world. But if you spend any amount of time in Turkey it will not take long for you to realize the need for the Gospel.
Five times a day, across all of Turkey, the call to prayer will go out – calling Muslims to come and pray to Allah. What is interesting in Turkey, compared to other Muslim countries, is most people just continue on with life without stopping to pray. The majority of people who live in Turkey would call themselves a Muslim, but most are not practicing their faith. It is more of a, “If you are a Turk you are a Muslim” motto. The need is great in Turkey as there are only about 5-6 thousand Christians in a country of over 82 million people!
In the past Turkey was a difficult place to come and minister, but in recent years more and more doors have opened. Having lived here and talked with people, it is clear to see that in the past few years God has been moving and opening doors up for the Gospel here in Turkey. More and more people are looking for answers after years of hardships and problems. There is an open door right now in Turkey for churches to be started, but who is to say how much longer that door will stay open. There is also an open door to reach out to refugees from Syria, Iran and Iraq who have moved to Turkey looking for a better life. Many of these countries the refugees are from are closed to the Gospel, but in Turkey there is an open door to reach them! Who will go to Turkey? Who will go and share the Gospel with the over 82 million people living here? Will you obey God’s command to bring the Gospel to the people of Turkey?
Here are some statistics about the country of Turkey:
- Turkey is one of the few countries that is in both Asia and Europe. Istanbul is the only city in the world that is both in Europe and in Asia.
- It is the second largest European country with a population of around 83 million people.
- The major cities of Turkey are:
- Istanbul- 16 million
- Ankara-6 million
- Izmir- 4.5 million
- Bursa- 3 million
- Adana- 2.2 million
- Gaziantep- 2 million
- Konya- 2 million
- Antalya 2 million
- There are only around 5-6000 Christians in the country of Turkey (less than .02% of the population)
- It is one of the youngest countries in Europe with 16% of the population being between the ages of 15-24.
- Turkey is home to over 4 million refugees mostly from Syria, but also many from Iran and Iraq.