Note: strong pressures on ethnic minorities to adopt Turkish culture and language make it hard to obtain objective figures.

Turks 76- 80%. A Central Asian people that conquered and largely absorbed the indigenous peoples of the land from the 11th Century onward. Though ethnically diverse, Turks have a fairly homogeneous culture. Distinctive sub-groups:

Koruk (Gagauz)665,000
Crimean Tatar400,000

– 14- 20%. (The Kurds claim 21-25%). An Indo-Iranian people in southeast Anatolia, probably related to the ancient Medes. Many Kurds use Turkish as their primary language. Main language groups:
Kurmanji5-9 Million
Dimli (Zaza)1.15 Million
Arabs – In south Anatolia adjoining Syria.1.8%
Muslim minorities1.8%
Gypsy (Turkish, Arlije, Domari)590,000
Kabardian (Circassian)550,000
Bulgarian Pomak300,000
Bulgarian Turks200,000
Central Asians90,000
Non-Muslim minorities0.2%
Official languageTurkish



Turkey”s Ottoman Empire was for centuries the guardian of all the holy places of Islam and its chief protagonist. Since the sweeping reforms of the 1920s, Turkey has officially been a secular state but in recent years Islam has become politically more important. The constitutional guarantee of religious freedom has not been fully upheld. There continues to be instances of discrimination and harassment of religious minorities though there has been a distinct improvement since 2000.


Religion type:                                     % of population        Approx number

Muslim                                                         99.64                          66,351,213

Christian                                                      0.32                            213,091

Jewish                                                          0.04                             26,636


Prayer Needs

  1. Pray for the unreached…Turkey remains the largest unreached nation in the world.
  2. Pray that attempts to restrict religious freedom may be frustrated.
  3. Pray for the Turkish church that has become a visible reality…for discerning leaders, strong fellowships, courage in persecution, and perseverance
  4. Pray Bible training for new believers and growing leaders.
  5. Pray for the unreached and unevangelized.



Area: 779,452 square kilometers


Straddles two continents; 3% in Europe (Thrace), 97% in Asia (Anatolia). Also controls the Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles, vital sea links between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Its strategic position has made the area of prime importance throughout history.


Major Cities:

Ankara – capital                                                           3,250,000

Istanbul                                                                      10.1 million

Izmir                                                                           2.4 million

Bursa                                                                          1.3 million

Adana                                                                         1.1 million

Urbanites                                                                  65%



Tourism, agriculture and industry are all important to the economy. It is self-sufficient in agriculture. Remittances from the 3 million Turks working in Western Europe are a significant source of foreign exchange. Inflation in the 1990s, again in 2001 and the devastating 1999 earthquake have slowed growth. There has been massive development of both the Tigris and Euphrates river basins in the east.

The economy needs to be modernized in preparation for possible entry into the EU. Turkey has the world’s 17th largest economy. It is, at the same time, one of Europe’s poorer nations yet the richest and most developed of the six Turkic nations of west and central Asia.