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

Hope a Little Higher

“For love of people, I need you, child, to hope a little higher. Forever will only be full if you will go forth with your heart on fire.”

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
February 01 2010, 7:03 pm | Comments 1

The Improbable Probability

As I watch Zafer, I often think about Jesus choosing His 12 hard-working, uneducated helpers. He chose men with coarse hands, strong jaws and a latent ability to turn the world upside down. Zafer is that kind of man.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
December 01 2009, 5:22 pm | Comments 0

The Miracle of Stone Soup

“I want to be baptized and follow Jesus.”

The Turkish words coming from my friend, Ozcan, riding in the back seat of my car sounded wondrously amazing to me.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
November 01 2009, 5:16 pm | Comments 0


Consider a single tick—you know, the tiny, brown, eight-legged blood-sucking creature. At the alarming moment you find a tick stuck to your arm or scalp, all other urgent matters vanish.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
September 01 2009, 5:14 pm | Comments 0

Jesus - A Good Name Indeed

I recently became friends with Jesus. He asked for my phone number, and I was happy to give it to him. He said he would like to get together some time.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
September 01 2009, 5:13 pm | Comments 0

Powerful Names

Turkish men tend to have powerful names. Here is a list of a few of my friends’ names: Achieve, Fist, Evolution, Rising Soldier, First Blood and Volcano. Thunderbolt is my friend’s boy. Most names in Turkey have a clear and definite meaning,

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
August 01 2009, 5:11 pm | Comments 0

A Bad Day for Badness

It was a bad day for my Turkish friend when he accidentally dropped his cell phone in the toilet at the mosque. (Of course, it was an even worse day for his phone.) The public toilets here are usually just a hole. When something falls in, it is a straight plummet to the center of the earth, or at least some other abysmal place from which there is no escape. After my friend told me about losing his phone in the toilet, I called his number. It gave me a strange delight to know that, in a unique way, I was touching the very depths of our city’s sewage system. (How surprised I would have been had someone answered!)

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
June 01 2009, 5:08 pm | Comments 0

The Little Reporter

Let me tell you, it’s not easy being a three-year-old kid in Turkey. Everyone here speaks really fast like they have been speaking Turkish their whole life. I listen hard, but they speak harder than I can listen.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
May 01 2009, 5:07 pm | Comments 0

Weighing My Time

Several months ago, I wrote about the multiplying power of winning one new soulwinnner a year for Christ. I was so excited when Erdinch, a businessman friend, told me, “I want to learn the Bible well enough that I can teach others.”

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
April 01 2009, 5:04 pm | Comments 0

There IS a Remnant

A young Turkish couple, Mustafa and Uman, providentially found our Adventist team here in Turkey. Last Sabbath, Uman told me the remarkable story of her conversion. Here it is in her words.

By: Barnabas & Esther Hope
February 01 2009, 5:03 pm | Comments 0

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