Blast rattles Turkey’s capital, sets nerves on edge

By September 21, 2011

Turkey (MNN) — An explosion rocked downtown Ankara, Turkey
yesterday.  Police said they were considering the attack
possibly terror-related.

Investigators say a car bomb was placed at an intersection and
detonated at a time calculated to do the most damage. Three people died in the blast, and 34 more were
injured, although those numbers could 
change as time passes.

Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Rody Rodeheaver with IN Network says, "The
climate is heating up, particularly as it relates to the Kurdish issue."

Turkey has a major military campaign against the Kurdish Workers
Party, or PKK, a militant Kurdish group. The group is waging war because it wants separation or autonomy
from Turkey in order to create an independent state of Kurdistan. The shift in power would grant greater
political and cultural rights for Kurds inside the Republic of Turkey. The government is trying to quell rebellion
so it can present an ordered face to the European Union in a bid for
membership.  

While the car bomb did not directly affect IN Network staff, nor
was it "organically" related to the assassination plot on IN Network's director
in Turkey, Rodeheaver says it does create terror. "It creates a bit of an
edge for everybody. I think one of the first things that we do is [to make sure] our staff
always checks in with each other, to make sure that they're doing ok. They kind
of 'take their temperature.'"

The reason it's unsettling, notes Rodeheaver, is that everyone is
vulnerable. "I think what this
shows is that terrorism can happen anyplace. It's very hard to control, but
they adjust as best they can. It is a
continued reminder of the direction that the world is going in the
insecurities, the danger." 

However, terrorism doesn't stop the Gospel. According to IN Network, Turkey is the
largest nation in the world that has little evidence of the Gospel of Jesus
Christ. For more than 1,000 years, it was a bastion of Christianity, but now it
is an Islamic nation with an evangelical population of only .2% of the total
population. 

Rodeheaver says, "I think in the midst of that, Christ has
called Christians to stand and to love and to bring healing and to bring peace,
and to reach out to people with the great message of the love of Christ."  He adds that these kinds of events do prompt
security protocol changes. "They
are close enough to each other that they usually know where everybody is. It is
very important to be aware of what's going on and if the threats might be the
types of things that could affect the ministry, or affect our people."

Church planting and evangelism through IN Network are carried out by a small church plant in
Istanbul. Since persecution is a big part of being a Christian in Turkey,
Christian nurture is accomplished through personal visits and discipling church
members.

Because of the ostracism many Christians feel, internet evangelism
and a Christian children's ministry are also very important parts of their
team's outreach, says Rodeheaver. "Pray
that our staff will have the courage to go about their lives and that they will
have the courage to share their faith. But also pray for the insecurities that
come as our people face the challenges."

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