The Country

Turkey is three times the size of the UK and has a population of 85 million people, including approximately 4 million refugees. There are 81 provinces and 3 main cities with populations over 3 million, Istanbul (16 million), Ankara the Capital (6 million) and Izmir on the west coast (3.5 million).

The Church

Recent research gave the Christian population as about 0.2% of the population and is made up of groups of Catholics, and Orthodox Christians from Armenian, Greek, and Syriac heritage numbering 75,000 to 100,000 mainly concentrated in Istanbul and the Southeast. The Protestant Church is small with 10,000 to 15,000 people 0.01% of the population. There are around 200 fellowships meeting mainly in the large cities and central towns. There are some provinces with no known evangelical Christians and others where there are only a scattered few.

It is hard for Protestant Christians to find places to meet together. Rents are often prohibitively high or landlords are hesitant to rent to Christians. There are only a handful of churches which have their own building, others use old church buildings from other denominations, but most would meet in an office complex or in a high street shop. There are many house churches, but these are looked on with suspicion by local people as it is the way splinter Muslim groups meet.

Despite the pressure and sometimes persecution from families and communities the Protestant Church in Turkey is growing with many young people showing an interest and being baptised. However, despite reports of many baptisms, church growth is still relatively slow, with many who join not sticking the course and losing touch with the church or going back to Islam. So, there is a great need for trained Turkish church workers to disciple these young believers.