Some people in Istanbul go shopping by lowering a basket on a rope from their window. They put money in the basket to pay for food, and food sellers on the street below put food in the basket. When the sale is complete, the customer pulls the basket back up.
Some of the most important events in the Bible happened in the area that is now Turkey. Noah’s family settled there after the Flood. Abraham and Jacob lived there. Two-thirds of the New Testament was written to or from places in Turkey, and the Apostle Paul started many churches there. The cities of the seven churches in the Book of Revelation are in Turkey.
Many centuries ago, Muslims took control of Turkey and the country has been mostly Muslim since then. Since 1923, Turkey has had a secular government. “Secular” means “not concerned with religion.” The government is concerned about Muslim terrorists, and is suspicious of anyone who seems very serious about their faith.
More than 97 percent of the people in Turkey are Muslim. Only about 1 percent are Christian.
Turkey’s laws allow “freedom of religion.” But sometimes police give Christians a hard time if they share their faith outside the church. Some Christians receive threatening voice mail messages or letters from radical Muslims. Muslims who become Christians are often persecuted by families, friends, and bosses.
Some Muslims would like to take over the government and make Islam the official religion. Many officials, police, and radical Muslims are hostile toward Christians. Police sometimes stop people from handing out Christian books and materials. Christian missionaries have been attacked. Citizens carry ID cards that show their religion. Those whose cards show that they are not Muslims are sometimes treated unfairly.