Turkey (MNN) — Last week’s NATO meetings left Turkey out in the cold. Turkey’s Defense Minister told reporters, “We were left alone in the fight against terror.” His comments came after NATO allies refused to designate Syrian Kurds as terrorists, previously a sticking point for Turkey’s cooperation.
Tensions between Turkey and its NATO allies have been simmering since October. According to AMG International’s Tasos Ioannidis*, conflict with the West is one reason behind Turkey’s growing ‘Islamization.’
“For many years he was trying to come closer to the European Union and because not enough progress has been made… The Turks have kind of become disenchanted with the Europeans, and that has also contributed to the dislike for the Western people and for European people,” Ioannidis says.
On top of growing frustrations with the European Union, Turkey has acted as a funnel for fleeing refugees in the region. The country has over 3.5 million refugees within its borders.
Turkey has tried to force the hand of the European Union with threats of allowing refugees to secure trips to Europe if the European Union does not provide Turkey’s monetary requests. Without a doubt, this puts a strain on relationships.
Challenges in Turkey
Ioannidis describes more factors making life difficult for believers in Turkey. Since the 2016 coup attempt, the nation has become more restrictive and paranoid. AMG is experiencing challenges with its work in the county.
“Since the beginning of the year, we now have at least six individuals that have been deported or have been banned from re-entry into Turkey,” Ioannidis says.
AMG primarily uses media to proclaim the Gospel message in Turkey. Ioannidis says there is a small but growing Christian population within the Muslim-majority nation. AMG prays these believers will remain steadfast in their faith and continue to tell others the good news of Christ.
Would you take a moment right now to pray for Turkey, too?
“If history teaches us anything, it’s that whenever [there’s been] growing persecution of Christians in closed societies like that, God has responded many times with phenomenal and unexpected growth of the local church.”
Ask God to strengthen local believers. Pray for their boldness in Christ despite growing concerns for their stay in Turkey. Ask God to protect believers in Turkey and to help them continue the work he has entrusted them to do.
Pray God uses the Church in Turkey to advance the Gospel in unprecedented ways so all in the country will hear the message of the cross. Finally, pray opportunities will continue to open for AMG to use media in all of its various forms to proclaim the Gospel.
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Header image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.