What is Next for Muslim Turkey?
What would you think if a group of people you regarded as enemies were the first to help you after a natural disaster? Would that change the way you viewed them? That is a question Turkish Muslims must now ask themselves. Though Turkey was the location for many of the first churches, that country has been solidly Muslim for centuries. Turkey was central to the Ottoman Empire, the last Muslim empire to fall after WWI. Islamists have bemoaned this ever since.
Then came a 7.8 earthquake followed by devastating aftershocks on February 6. Well over 50,000 people died and nearly 16 million Muslim Turks were affected. 345,000 apartments were destroyed, leaving close to a million homeless.
There was an immediate need for medical attention, housing, food and water. Local and national governments were reluctant to allow outsiders to bring in relief, adding fury to frustration for those in need. Christian organization such as Foursquare Mission International (FMI) have been active in taking essentials to those in need, even in remote parts of Turkey like Diyarbakir and Malatya. FMI reports that Turkish church members are taking turns volunteering for 10 day shifts to distribute needed goods. One Christian (not with FMI) had a dream where the Lord’s hand intervened when her organization was ready to take a truckload of goods to the suffering Turks. Surely enough, that truck went through without government interference.
In recent years, Turks have curtailed religious freedom in Turkey, partly because they view Christianity as a threat to Turkish identity. Let’s pray for a stark change in this attitude.
Wikipedia, 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquake.
Mission Network News. Turkish Christians on the frontline of quake relief. February 28, 2023.