Turkey experiences openness in wake of Middle East violence

By July 25, 2011

Turkey (MNN) — Upheavals in Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, and a multitude of other nations across the Middle East and North Africa have many citizens of those countries thinking. But their responses to freedom and change have unintentionally gotten others involved as well.

Turkey has not suffered much of the turmoil that other nearby nations have, but the numerous revolutions have caused the air to change there. Rex Rogers with SAT-7, a satellite television service for the Middle East and North Africa, says many Turks are starting to open up.

"When things happen, even if it isn't happening in a given country like Turkey–[where violence] hasn't quite taken place there as it has in other Arab countries, still there's an influence, and you begin to think about old ideas. You think about new, alternative structures of ideas," explains Rogers.

SAT-7 workers who live in Turkey have noticed a change: people appear to be more open to the Gospel lately.

In Turkey, it's often said that to be Turkish is to be Muslim, and to be Muslim is to be Turkish. The pronouns are interchangeable. It's probably not surprising, then, that the average Turk knows very little about Christianity and may not ever have come in contact with a believer.

Still, many in Turkey are seeking out truth. The SAT-7 TURK programming manager has said, "There are many people in Turkey who consciously or unconsciously are searching for God. "

Rogers agrees. "They are interested in Christ," notes Rogers. "They say, ‘Who is this person? What do you mean that He's the Messiah?' Or, ‘What is the idea of forgiveness, or hope, or love?' — which they don't find in their traditional religious views."

The questions many are asking are exciting and deserve answers. In response to these seeking hearts, SAT-7 has created a program called "Proof."

"Proof" is an apologetic program geared at satisfying the need many have for "proof" that the Bible's truths are indeed True. The show uses a scientific approach to enlighten unbelievers and to strengthen the faith of Christians.

"It's a little early to determine an exact response to the programs." explains Rogers, "But we can say that there's an openness; there's more openness than we sometimes realize."

This openness is enough to get SAT-7 working hard to respond. Beyond that, SAT-7 hopes to be an encouragement to the church in Turkey, since Christians will be the ones to really invest in a one-on-one relationship with those who are seeking.

Pray for SAT-7 and for believers in Turkey as they respond to the many questions that people have about life, death, hope, faith, love, and more. Pray that many would put their trust in Christ as they learn a new way of thinking.

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