(MNN) — This Sunday, Turkey,
still in the early days of democracy, goes to the polls.
This vote was forced four months ahead of
schedule when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's political party (Justice
and Development Party, or AKP) failed to get its presidential candidate elected
in a parliamentary vote boycotted by the secular opposition.
IN Network's Rody Rodeheaver says while there's a lot of
talk about the future president, there's a more immediate concern. "The
general election is not to elect the president, but it is to elect the members
of parliament, 550 of them. Then, once that new government is constituted, then
they, in turn, will elect a president."
Tensions are high between the government
and secularists, as well as the army, which threatened to take action if the
government failed to ensure the separation of religion and state. That's brought outside watchers to bear on
the elections. Turkey
is trying to get into the European Union. The land is of huge strategic
importance to the European Union, Iran,
Iraq and Syria, but there are underlying tensions over
which way Turkey's
new government will go.
Rodeheaver says, "The prayer here is that the country
would not head toward becoming an Islamic state. There have been some tensions
because of that and fears that might have been some sort of secret agenda in
the original Parliament here, in their choosing of a president."
A move toward an Islamic state would make outreach
difficult. IN Network has church
planting and evangelism ministries which are carried out by a small church that
was planted in Istanbul through personal visits, discipling church members and
building them up in their faith.
The IN Network Turkey also has an Internet
Evangelism–a "door-opening" forum to chat with those who do not
know Christ, sharing with them the truth of the good news of Jesus. Those who
express a deeper interest are invited to seminars and sent literature for
According to IN Network, the Church in Turkey is now
ready to release a limited number of its members to become involved in a
full-time ministry. It is anticipated that this will result in a much-needed
faster growth of the Church.
However, recent events indicating anti-Christian sentiment
is rising is just one more reason their team and other believers need prayer
support. Christian believers have
declined from 22% to only .2% between 1900 and 2000, and most of
these Christians are non-Turkish. IN Network Turkey is committed to sharing the
Gospel and love of Christ with these people.
With a population of 70 million people of whom 99% are
Muslim, the evangelical church of the 21st century desires to build
relationships with their Muslim neighbors. They are also planning a vision tour for October. Click here if you want details.