Turkey (MNN) — The expulsion of dissenters in Turkey has gone a step farther following the failed July coup. Last Tuesday, over 15,000 military, police, and civil servants were dismissed for suspected involvement in the uprising.
Over 100,000 people have been arrested or sacked in total so far. The Turkish government’s purge has also led to the closure of nine provincial press organizations and 19 health institutions.
SAT-7’s Rex Rogers says their SAT-7 TURK channel has taken precautions in light of the crackdown.
“We’ve increased security somewhat, as far as we can. They’re a little more careful even than usual on what they’re doing. But the good news is that SAT-7 TURK is on the air uninterrupted on TURK SAT, which is a government regulated satellite, and we’re licensed to be there.”
Rogers explains, “We haven’t really changed the content or the tone of our programming. We’ve just been a little more aware and a little concerned about what could happen.”
Thankfully, SAT-7 is potentially safer than most press organizations, in a sense, because their focus isn’t on partisan issues, but rather on the message of the Gospel.
“We never get on the air and say, ‘Throw the rascal out!’ We never take sides, we’re not partisan. It’s Christian, and we talk about human rights and life and liberty and those kinds of issues, but we don’t get on and come across like we’re a threat to the government on any of our channels.”
When asked about impacts on SAT-7’s viewership, Rogers says they are still getting an increased number of contacts and inquiries in Turkey.
“They’re there and they’re hungry, they’re inquiring about Christianity, they’re inquiring about how to get a Bible, they’re inquiring about who really Jesus is. They’re talking about threats they perceive to their own family or somebody is missing, and they’re asking for prayer.”
When it comes to spreading the message of Christ and changing hearts on Turkey, the Church is still moving and SAT-7 is in a unique position to advance the Gospel witness.
“There are still a lot of believers, a lot of Western and Europeans, Christian people who are there working in a variety of ministry ways, it just may be [they] are not as open about it, you know, the tentmaker approach or business as missions and the various models. But they are there and they’re on the ground and God is blessing through them,” Rogers shares.
“SAT-7 TURK is the only Christian channel on TURK SAT, if you can believe that, reaching a nation of about 80 million people. That’s something like 55 to 60 million satellite dishes we’re told. So it’s a lot of people, a lot of access, a lot of opportunity — if we can just get the funds.”
Therein lies SAT-7 TURK’s bigger need right now: funding. There is so much more they can do to broadcast into homes all across Turkey with the profound hope and love of Christ.
While there is only so much a budget allows, the support of the greater Church can help propel this ministry.
“We’ve been able to give them as much as we can, but they really need to double their budget — that’s by about a million and a half per year — that they could productively and qualitatively use to make an impact. The viewership is increasing.”
Rogers also shares these two needs that you can pray for: “We do need some additional professional staff. You might imagine in a country where the number of Christian people is a limited minority, and then to find people who have TV talent and interests, abilities whether on camera or behind a camera, it’s just more challenging.
“The other is of course their safety, their security, that they can continue to broadcast boldly, but at the same time fly under the radar of any political concerns.”
Please take a moment to ask God to bless SAT-7 TURK with continued protection in the midst of political turmoil in Turkey, and for experienced believers to join their team. Pray that our Heavenly Father would be glorified through this ministry.