All of the seven ecumenical councils took place in Turkey. If there was a Bible belt over 1,500 years ago, it was in Turkey. However, that changed with the rise of Islam and its eventual conquest of the region. Then, a few centuries later, the area would be at the heart of one of the world’s most powerful empires, the Islamic Ottoman Empire.
After the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey took a road less traveled among majority Islamic nations—it leaned toward Europe rather than the Middle East.
Turkey has been seen as a moderate Muslim country, though some (including the current President) reject that terminology, and there are troubling signs for the future.
Practice of Islam is more cultural in Turkey. Religious practice in the urban areas is more nominal, but if you get out into the villages everybody goes to mosque. If you go to villages less than an hour from Istanbul, you’ll see every woman’s head covered. Even in the city there are neighborhoods where every woman is in black from head to toe with just a slit over the eyes. There are whole sections of the city where that’s the way all the women dress.
There are about 3000 Christians in Turkey, about half of them coming from an Orthodox background. The Church is small but has a passion to be united in making disciples in that nation.
Pray for God’s people to be faithful to him, for disciples who will be part of the voice for change in the nation, and for the Church to be strong in the Lord and show his mighty acts in this land.