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Country rank   42
Last year’s rank   25
Region   Middle East
Population   84 515 000
Christians   170 000 (0.2%)
Main Religion   Islam


Christians in Turkey experience incredible pressure from very strong – and increasing – religious nationalism in Turkey. The government continues to target even foreign Christians in its borders, along with the foreign spouses of Turkish citizens.

It’s not technically illegal for Muslims to convert to Christianity, but any Muslim who does decide to follow Jesus comes under immense strain from their families and communities, who often demand the convert return to Islam. These believers are sometimes forced to lead a double life and hide their conversion.

Even Christians who didn’t convert from Islam are hardly regarded as full members of Turkish society and encounter all kinds of legal and bureaucratic obstructions. All Christians have limited access to state employment and experience discrimination in private employment, especially in jobs with ties to the government.

What changed this year? Even though it’s decreased in score, Turkey continues its status as a place where Christians can expect to encounter significant opposition for their faith. Increasingly, Turkish identity is tied to Islam, so anyone outside of that brand of religious nationalism encounters suspicion and discrimination. All Christians are under pressure in Turkey, but converts from Islam are certainly the most vulnerable, along with Christian refugees from countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Meet Hans-Jurgen Louven

“The only reason I can think of for [forcing me to leave] is that we’re people of faith, and at times we’ve shared our faith with the local people.”


Pray for Turkey

  • Pray for Christians in Turkey as they live, work and worship in a place that doesn’t seem to want them. Pray for deliverance from discrimination and an increasing awareness of God’s love and grace. Ask God to protect converts from Islam and to bring them to a place where they can worship Him freely.
  • Ask God to strengthen Open Doors’ ministry to refugee communities in Turkey, particularly our support of Iranian believers. Pray that God will lift up the Centres of Hope now operating in Turkey and will use those communities to bring more people to Him.
  • Pray for the leadership of Turkey, that it would realise Turkish Christians are part of the fabric of their country. Pray that believers would be able to work without discrimination.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Turkey?

Open Doors raises worldwide prayer support for persecuted believers in Turkey.

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