Turkey (MNN) — The Turkish parliament this week authorized cross-border military operations into northern Iraq to combat Kurdish separatist rebels as world leaders implored Turkey to delay any action.
In the hours before the parliament voted by an overwhelming approval to launch 507-19 to give Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (ra-JEHP tah-IHP uhr-dah-wan) permission to launch strikes anytime over the next year, Iraqi and NATO officials made a flurry of cautionary, last-minute telephone calls to the country's top leaders.
Carlos with Partners International says their ministry has extensive work in the north, and the instability is a concern. Carlos says he's concerned specifically about the border city of Zakho. "There is a small group of believers in that city. Any military incursion by the Turkish army no doubt is going to have terrible consequences for that town."
Partners supports a wide range of ministries in Northern Iraq. Carlos says he's mostly concerned that Partners can "continue providing the support that they need for their ministry. We're not concerned specifically for their security, or the security of the schools, for the books stores or the radio stations that we support primarily because they are in the main cities far away from the border areas."
While a war could cause issues for their work, Carlos says a Turkish attack could actually be a good thing for evangelism. "An attack may actually reinforce the idea, in their minds, that the Muslims are not their friends. And maybe it's going to push them forward to come closer to the Christians. So the war may actually play out to be a positive for us."
Partners supports three Christian schools, three radio stations, Christian books stores and more.
"What is happening is amazing," Carlos says. "There are church buildings with capacity for 600 people that are actually turning into community centers. The church has plans to have concerts and cultural events for the community."
He says what God is doing in the north is outpacing their ability to keep up financially, but Partners is excited about what God is doing.
Pray that the uncertainty will cause many Kurds in the north to look to Christians for answers. Pray also that God will call English-speaking teachers to the region.