Turks of Turkey

  • Pre-Entry
  • Pre-Evangelism
  • Evangelism
  • Discipleship
  • Phase-Out
  • Completed

About the People

From the Joshua Project:

The Turks originated in Turan, a region that lies between the Caspian Sea and the Mongolian Desert. They arrived in Anatolia, Turkey (Asia Minor) in the eleventh century as conquering warriors. By the year 1299, the Ottoman Dynasty began ruling over what would become a vast empire, greater in area than the Roman Empire, and held the Caliphate lamented by Muslim fundamentalists. Over twenty states fell under Ottoman rule, including Southern Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Saudi Arabia. This huge empire lasted until Turkey became a republic in 1923.

Under the Ottomans Christians and Jews were tolerated, but were second-class citizens. The Armenians were persecuted and murdered in mass numbers. After the Empire collapsed in World War I and in subsequent war with Greece, many of the remaining Greek Christians were driven out of western Turkey. Since the 1920s modern Turkey has become a secular, developed nation that sits, literally and symbolically, between the Christian West and the Muslim world.

Turkey is considered to be a “link” between the Orient (Chinese and Mongols) and the Occidental (Anglo-Saxons, Slavs, Goths, and Latins). The Turks, therefore, have a knowledge and mixture of both Eastern and Western cultures.

Turkey is the only secular republic with a majority of the population being Muslim. Turkish law is not based on Islamic law, but is rather a republic modeled after the Swiss and French legal systems.

The Turks represent a great opportunity to create a “fulcrum” church movement that could reach many other Muslim people groups.

Though traditional ways continue to exist in some areas, the typical Turks lives a secularized, modern urban life, with all the materialistic advantages and temptations that go with it. Much cultural sexism remains as women are often viewed through traditional Islamic beliefs. Only 80% of women are literate as compared with 95% of men. A quarter of the population is under age 15.

The diet of the Turks consists of a heavy bread, olives, cheese from sheep or cows milk, onions, molasses from grapes, fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Meats such as fish, wild game, or poultry are only eaten once a week. Wealthier peasants may also eat lamb and beef, but Islam prohibits them from eating pork.

Soccer is Turkey's most popular sport. Children enjoy games such as hide-and-seek and follow-the-leader. They also love to hear fairy tales.

Relaxation is of the utmost importance to the Turk. Coffee houses are places where men meet to visit and talk politics or business. In general, the Turks are courteous, gentle people who readily show hospitality to strangers. They are also very patriotic and have a deep sense of nationalistic pride and love for their country.

About the Project

Turkey is the land where the early church made much of it’s progress in the first and second centuries. The seven churches in Revelation are located in this country. Today there are fewer than 0.01% Christians.” With its population of over 76 million, this makes Turkey one of the least reached countries on earth.

Islam is the predominant religion of this society, while secularism still holds a stronghold in the ruling elite. Despite its constitution guaranteeing religious freedom, Christians are frequently persecuted. Further, the public meetings, such as church services, require great efforts to gain approval from the government, and public proselytizing is prohibited.


People-Group Facts

  • Population: 51,301,000
  • Language: Turkish
  • Trade Language: Turkish
  • Religion: Majority of population is Muslim


The Turkish Building Fund is designated to provide the means for the Turkish believers to build a meeting house (or church) in which to meet legally every Sabbath.

Frontier Stories

God’‘s Leading

This is a season when I like to look back over the past year. It is encouraging to reflect on God’s leading.

By: Nena Nassar
January 01 2012, 5:07 am | Comments 0

A Few Good Men

Twelve good men. Okay, eleven. How did Jesus find them? I guess he didn’t. He made them.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
November 01 2011, 8:39 pm | Comments 0

Anywhere but the Hospital

Foreign hospitals make me nervous. Maybe it’s the donkey grazing in the parking lot, maybe it’s the unfinished concrete everywhere, or maybe it’s the arrow at the entrance pointing to the back of the building that says, “Morgue.”

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
October 01 2011, 8:37 pm | Comments 0

The Bottom of a Baptistery

Last year, I attempted to build my own portable baptistery. It was an act of desperation to solve the problem of a mid-winter baptism in a country where having such an event publicly could cause problems.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
September 01 2011, 8:36 pm | Comments 0

Broken Eggs Hatch

I went to Germany for a weekend to teach a seminar at a national youth conference. On Sabbath afternoon, we took Turkish Bible lessons and materials and went door-to-door.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
July 01 2011, 8:32 pm | Comments 0

God’s GPS

While walking through the forest near my home yesterday morning, I came across a dead sheep. It was an ugly sight—bloated, with rigid legs sticking straight out.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
June 01 2011, 8:29 pm | Comments 0

Jesus’ iPhone

It’s hard for me to believe, but seven years ago before arriving in Turkey, I didn’t own a cell phone.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
May 01 2011, 8:26 pm | Comments 0

A True Son of Abraham

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no knowledge of Adventist people and nothing particular to interest me in their beliefs, I returned from my Friday prayers to resume my dreary work.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
April 08 2011, 8:23 pm | Comments 0

Ancient Christians

As we bowed our heads in prayer in the name of Jesus, I was struck by the strangeness of our situation.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
March 01 2011, 8:21 pm | Comments 0

The Blind Leading the Kind (Part Two)

From last time: Barnabas and Esther traveled to eastern Turkey with their partially blind friend, Sadaattin, a newly baptized Adventist.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
February 01 2011, 8:19 pm | Comments 0

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