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Turkey: Miriam Hopes to Go to Jail


Miriam was sad. Her father had died and she missed him.

A reporter wrote about her father’s funeral. “Throughout most of the ceremony, only the smallest girl, Miriam, broke down in tears,” said the reporter.

Miriam, age 8, lived in Turkey with her parents, her 13-year-old sister Michal Janina, and her 10-year-old brother Lucas. Her father, Tillman, and her mother, Susanne, had come to Turkey from Germany in the 1990s. They hoped to live as followers of Christ among Muslims who did not know Him. (See the photo of the family above.)

Tillman was helping other Christians prepare a new Turkish Bible for Turkish people to read. The children attended school in Turkey. They spoke German, Turkish, and some English.

On Easter in 2007, some young Turkish men came to the worship service that Miriam and her family attended. They pretended to be interested in learning more about Jesus. Later, still pretending, they visited Tillman and two other Christians.

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Turkey’s population is growing. About 44 million people lived in Turkey in 1980. Today more than 75 million live there.

Main Languages
Turkish, Kurdish

At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 2:00 p.m. in Turkey.

Interesting Fact
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.

More than 97 percent of the people in Turkey are Muslim. Only about 1 percent are Christian.

Turkey’s laws allow “freedom of religion.” Some Muslims would like to take over the government and make Islam the official religion. Christians have received threatening voice mail messages or letters from radical Muslims. Muslims who become Christians are often persecuted by families, friends, and bosses. Christian missionaries have been attacked.

Citizens carry ID cards that may show their religion. Those whose cards show that they are not Muslims are sometimes treated unfairly.