Türkiye (MNN) — Today marks the first anniversary of the series of earthquakes that devastated much of Türkiye. The nation needs the support of people with vision and perseverance for long-term rebuilding.
Bruce Allen with FMI says, “Ten major cities were decimated. When you think about the whole earthquake impact zone, it destroyed 140,000 square miles [of] land and property – equivalent to the entire size of Germany.
“Rebuilding is going to take a long, long time. People need to be in it for the long haul.”
The Turkish government faced criticism for its response to the quakes and fading pledges for relief support.
“In responding to public criticism that the government’s rescue workers were too slow in reacting [to the Feb 2023 earthquakes], President Erdogan pledged to build 650,000 housing units,” Allen says.
President Erdogan promised half would be done within the following year. “[But] even at the end of January, 11 plus months later, construction has only begun on less than half of that amount. Only 46,000 homes have been completed, according to environment and urbanization ministry data. Government response has been slow, although there have been lots of pledges. But even from our partners in the country, they said it did not even last very long.”
Meanwhile, the nation’s tiny Christian population continues to serve the needs of their communities for food, clothing, and longer-term shelter.
“We have to remember that this country of about 86 million people has only a 0.04% population of evangelical Christians. [Then,] 99.2% of the population are in unreached people groups. That doesn’t mean they’re indifferent or hostile to the Gospel. It just means they’re unaware of the Gospel.”
Allen says the compassion and care that Christians have shown over the past year have gained them credibility with Muslim neighbors.
“People are saying, ‘Why are you treating us so well, when we have treated you so poorly?’ It has provided opportunities not just for physical care, but spiritual care as well.”
Partners of FMI in Türkiye are committed to education for children, housing, and makeshift grocery stores. “But all of those things are consumables and require finances. So the financial need is still there,” Allen says.
“There’s also a great need for prayer for these churches, especially in the earthquake zone regions, where they’re relatively swelling with new believers. There’s a lot of that spiritual need of care and growth and discipleship that needs to take place.”
FMI plans to launch five more church planters in Türkiye this year. Click here to learn more and find out how you can prayerfully come alongside Türkiye with FMI.
Header photo courtesy of FMI.