Turkey (MNN/SAT-7) — On Valentines day, SAT-7 TÜRK, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle east and North Africa, marked its first anniversary of broadcasting on Turkey’s national satellite, Türksat, with a potential viewing audience of over 50 million people.
Executive Director and renowned actor Melih Ekener says: “We were worried that we would receive a lot of bad reactions, but that hasn’t been the case. Even non-Christians have accepted us. This has been very surprising! I wasn’t expecting that viewers would say to us, ‘I believe in Jesus,’ but this is happening. God is working!”
For decades, most of Turkish society has viewed the tiny minority of Turkish Christians with suspicion and sometimes hostility. SAT-7 TÜRK became the first–and remains the only–Christian channel on Türksat when it launched a 24/7 schedule of programs last year.
The Christian programs are making an impact on people’s lives, offering:
- Bible teaching and church services
- Women’s programs
- Social impact
- Children’s cartoons
One viewer says, “I am filled with joy! I was born [into a different religion], but I believe in Jesus Christ because He came as a peace ambassador, and He is the only one who will save us. I respect the other religions, but my religion is Jesus Christ. Turkey really needs this channel.”
SAT-7 TÜRK aims to build bridges between the Christian minority and the rest of the population, and demonstrate that it is possible to be both Turkish and Christian. The channel is a public platform for Turkish Christians to witness to their faith and is also helping viewers in their personal witness.
This anniversary comes at a time of increasing volatility in Turkey. The country faced its worst terrorist attack in October 2015 when 95 people were killed and around 250 wounded at a peace rally in Ankara. There has also been intensifying fighting between the government and the Kurdish nationalist PKK group in the southeast region of Diyarbakir. Turkey is also struggling to cope with 2.5 million Syrian refugees, and having closed its borders, is under international pressure to reopen them.
Melih says, “Amid the difficult time our country is going through, SAT-7 TÜRK is giving people the greatest weapon there is: God’s Word. When you use it, it brings peace, reconciliation, and love. Instead of bullets, it shoots love and hope.”
SAT-7 TÜRK aims to double its budget over the next three years to increase both the quantity and quality of its programming, attracting a larger audience.
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