// World Watch List



Turkey

 

26 Turkey

WHO IS THE LEADER OF TURKEY?

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the leader of Turkey.

Turkey

HOW MANY CHRISTIANS LIVE IN TURKEY?

194,000 Christians live in Turkey. They're a tiny minority, making up just 0.2 per cent of the population of 81.9 million. The majority of the population are Muslims.

Most of the Christians in Turkey are expatriates, including thousands of refugees from Iraq and Syria who fled to escape the self-proclaimed Islamic State. There are between 5,000 and 7,000 believers from Muslim backgrounds in Turkey.

WHY ARE CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN TURKEY?

It is widely believed that a true Turk must be a Sunni Muslim.

This religious nationalism has grown to new heights after the failed coup of 2016. President Erdogan has used the situation to enlarge his power and position, beginning to transform Turkey from a secular state into a Sunni Muslim one, leaving little space for minorities.

WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHRISTIANS IN turkey?

Christians from Muslim backgrounds often hide their faith. If they are discovered, they will face pressure from their families – leaving Islam is seen as a betrayal of their Turkish identity and a source of shame to the family. They may be threatened with divorce and the loss of inheritance rights. Although converts from Islam can legally change their religious affiliation on ID cards, it can be a difficult and stressful process.

Those from ethnic minorities such as Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Syriac Christians experience discrimination in the workplace, especially where employers have ties to the government. Religious affiliation is recorded on ID cards, so it is easy to discriminate against Christian applicants.

HOW CAN I HELP CHRISTIANS IN TURKEY?

Persecuted church talks

You can SPEAK OUT

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Persecuted church talks

You can pray

Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, says, “Our prayers can go where we cannot... There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.” 

A PRAYER FOR TURKEY

Holy Spirit, keep your church alive in Turkey. Give peace to those who are forced to keep their faith secret. Protect and provide for those who are discriminated against in the workplace and give wisdom and courage to churches who want to share the good news about Jesus.

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