Turkey (MNN) — The country of Turkey is changing its official name to Türkiye. The United Nations, NATO, and other international bodies have agreed to use the new name.
But it’s not actually new for the people of Turkey, says Bruce Allen with FMI. “This is what they have called themselves since their declaration of independence in 1923. They would like the rest of the world to call them by this name. They cite things like if you try to Google the word Turkey, you will get this large North American bird.”
“Or if you look in the dictionary, Turkey is defined as something that fails badly, or a stupid, silly person.”
Critics within Turkey say the move is simply meant to distract from the country’s myriad of problems. A severe financial crisis makes it difficult for many citizens to buy food. The current government is up for re-election in the coming months.
Allen says the Christian community has their own challenges. “A large number of foreign Christian workers are no longer being allowed to stay in the country. The government is not renewing visas for those people.”
That leaves the Christian community in a very precarious situation, Allen says. “Because for so many decades, it has really been the foreign Christian workers that have been doing a lot of the leadership.”
FMI helps build local churches run by Turkish citizens. You can support this work here.
The Christian population in Turkey
Allen says the churches in Turkey are small and scattered. “The church leaders I’ve been meeting with over the years say there’s probably only 10 to 12,000 evangelical Christians out of 85 million people. That means you need to meet more than 7,000 people on average to meet an evangelical.”
It’s an ironic twist, Allen says because ancient Turkey held many churches, including those mentioned in the New Testament book of Revelations.
Header photo courtesy of FMI.