CLICK HERE for Country Information and History

Area: (slightly larger than Texas, total: 783,562 sq km, land: 769,632 sq km, water: 13,930 sq km

Population: 80,274,604 (July 2016 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.9% (2016 est.)

Capital City: Ankara

Independence Day: 29 October 1923 (successor state to the Ottoman Empire)

Ethnic Groups: Turkish 70-75%, Kurdish 19%, other minorities 7-12% (2016 est.)

Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish, other minority languages

Life Expectancy at Birth: total population: 74.8 years / male: 72.5 years / female: 77.3 years (2016 est.)

Religious Groups:

  • Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni)
  • other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews)

Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk or “Father of the Turks.” Under his leadership, the country adopted radical social, legal, and political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democrat Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of formal political power to civilians. In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster – popularly dubbed a “post-modern coup” – of the then Islamic-oriented government. A coup attempt was made in July 2016 by a faction of the Turkish Armed Forces.

Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” which only Turkey recognizes. A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has long dominated the Turkish military’s attention and claimed more than 40,000 lives. In 2013, the PKK and the Turkish Government agreed to a cease-fire, but fighting resumed in 2015. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1963, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community; it began accession membership talks with the EU in 2005. Over the past decade, economic reforms have contributed to a growing economy, although economic growth slowed in recent years.

From 2015 and continuing in 2016, Turkey witnessed an uptick in terrorist violence. The attacks have included bombings in Ankara, Istanbul, and throughout the predominantly Kurdish southeastern region of Turkey. On 15 July 2016, elements of the Turkish Armed forces attempted a coup at key government and infrastructure locations in Ankara and Istanbul. An estimated 300 people were killed and over 2,000 injured when Turkish citizens took to the streets en masse to confront the coup forces. In response, Turkish Government authorities arrested and/or dismissed thousands of military personnel, journalists, and civil servants, including judges and educators, over their alleged connection with the attempted coup. The government accused followers of an Islamic transnational religious and social movement for allegedly instigating the failed coup and designates the followers as terrorists. Following the failed coup, the Turkish Government instituted a three-month State of Emergency in July 2016 that was extended in October 2016. The Turkish Government is considering changing Turkey to an executive presidency.

(SOURCE: The CIA Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities.)

Transitioning out of Turkey
Paul and Lea

Paul and Lea recently returned home, after 12-years of full-time residential work in Turkey.

Paul & Lea served in Turkey for well over a decade! Their work centered around St. Paul Cultural Center in Antalya, Turkey. While certainly daily life and the political climate continue to change in this Muslim country, Paul and Lea remained faithful servants of the Lord in strengthening, mentoring, and discipling relationships with the Turkish people. They had also been working among the huge influx of Syrian refugees, who have fled ISIS terrorism and persecution.

Lea and a young friend with Syrian refugees

Paul and Lea would like to thank all the wonderful supporters who answered God’s call to partner with them through prayer and financial support and those who served, short-term, in Turkey.
Recently, Paul has had some set backs due to health issues. But God is so good! Before health became an issue Paul & Lea had already planned to return to the United States in late June 2017, in order to spend more time with grandkids and other family. They are now in their new home in the US and are praying for discernment in where and how God will use them, next.


We celebrate with Paul and Lea for a blessed calling as career workers in Turkey and know that the Lord will use them mightily in their next call to ministry!
EEMN encourages you to continue supporting Paul & Lea, as every family that returns home from full-time residential work in the field experiences a long adjustment period to life “back in the States” and the challenge of securing new sources of income that will sustain the cost of living here. Visit the EEMN support page, today!