Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Failed Kemalist Modernization Project.

"In the beginning of the 20th Century the Ottoman Empire’s military and civil bureaucracy, about 95% of which was under Colonel Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s leadership, decided to create a modern Republic from what remained of the Empire after World War I. The Ottoman Empire, like most other empires, was multinational, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual, and allowed for a wide variety of religions. However, the founders of this new Republic decided to create a uniform ethnicity, language, and religious orientation (Islam = Sunni-Hanefi and Turks=Turkish) out of this diverse community. Since then, the government has been in war with its citizens, imposing its will to artificially transform the majority into a minority culture, language, and religion. At the same time the educational institutions, the mass media, and public officials have preached citizen-uniformity and enforced with gunpoint, furthermore, anyone taking a position contrary to that has been considered an Enemy-of-the-State."

Kurdistan Observer

Monday, November 29, 2004

True security rests in sustained Christian-Muslim dialogue

"Over the centuries Christians and Muslims have indeed fought each other on numerous fronts. They have also cooperated and co-existed on countless others. We are not facing a clash of civilizations, where religious and ethnic identities determine the fault lines. We are facing a minority clash of fundamentalisms, whose followers exploit anxieties and frustration caused by genuine political conflicts to further their own ideological agendas."

Mathaba.Net News

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Younger Turks favor joining EU as way to better nation

"Nearly a century after a cabal of young Turks engineered the downfall of the Ottoman Empire, a new generation of young Turks is embracing the start of another kind of revolution."

" In their enthusiasm, Turks under 30 seem undaunted by the remaining EU membership hurdles. Instead, many say they understand that their country must make further progress in areas such as education and must solidify human-rights and political reforms before it can join Europe's club."

" Havva Yakup's dreams are more concrete and definitely closer to home. She wants to see more religious freedom in this predominantly Muslim country, including a change in the Turkish law that prohibits wearing head scarves in universities and government buildings.

"I hope Turkey becomes a member because if it does, it will make it possible for me to continue my education regardless of whether or not I wear a head scarf," said Yakup, who is 15 and attends a religious high school."

To read more, just click the coments button below.
Chicago Tribune | Younger Turks favor joining EU as way to better nation

Coffeehouse and Prayer Hall

Religious Restrictions Begin
To Ease as Nation Seeks
Entry in European Union

"ANTALYA, Turkey -- Strolling through the jasmine-scented alleys of this Mediterranean port city in 1997, Rev. James Bultema stumbled on an abandoned stone chapel. Instantly, he envisioned it restored and reconsecrated. Here was the home he was seeking for his budding congregation."

"Little did the 42-year-old minister realize that trying to turn the dilapidated chapel into one of Turkey's first new Christian churches in eight decades would entail years of effort and become a touchstone in the nation's bid to join the European Union. Rev. Bultema's continuing struggle illustrates the uneasiness in both Turkey and Europe over the prospect of the country entering the EU. Next month, EU leaders will decide whether to begin negotiations with Turkey on its application to join."

This article gives some examples of the struggles Christians go through in trying to get anything done with the government here.

The rest of the article is posted under the comments link below.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Europeans in No Mood to Welcome Turkey

"Too big. Too poor. Too Muslim.

For most Europeans, the recent recommendation of the European Union's executive body to open membership talks with Turkey goes a step too far."

"Surveys indicate that a referendum on Turkish membership would fail in every major EU country."

"Turkey is changing but Turkey also is good at window dressing," said Olivier Roy, one of the leading French commentators on the Middle East. "The changes have to be real, not just nice words written into the law."

Europeans in No Mood to Welcome Turkey

Friday, November 26, 2004

God's Work Continues

God is using the new believers in the region of Trakya here in Turkey in incredible ways. Last week, a visit to one of the new believing families in this area was especially fruitful. A young student who this new believer has been sharing with accepted Christ! They are already talking about how they can form together into a home church to study and share together. There are also two other friends who are very close to believing. Please pray for the new Christians in Trakya, they are new believers who don't have much, but are incredibly faithful in their walk and work.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Population to Rise to 71.8 Million

"It has been estimated that Turkey's population, 70,847,000 in late 2003, will rise to 71,813,000, an increase of 966,000 by the end of 2004."

This country is growing incredibly fast and of course that just means that many more people who need Jesus. On this Thanksgiving Day, be thankful that you know and have access to the truth.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

80 % of Muslims are Discriminated

"The 80 percent of Muslims who live in Great Britain reportedly are discriminated because of increasing "Islam Phobia"."


"With Turkey requesting admission into the European Union, there seems to be a bit more relaxed atmosphere regarding Christians, their churches and seminaries."

"As Susan Sachs of the New York Times writes, "Some hard-liners in Turkey see diversity as divisive." The best religion in Turkey is no religion at all, according to those who have held power for too long."


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Christian Post | Turkish Council Approves Long-Awaited Church Zoning Status

"A committee acting under the Turkish Ministry of Culture has approved legal zoning of the Diyarbakir Evangelical Church, granting formal approval for the first new Protestant church to be built in southeastern Turkey since the founding of the Turkish republic 81 years ago."

"Without question this is a direct answer to the prayers of Christians from all over the world,"
Christian News - The Christian Post | Turkish Council Approves Long-Awaited Church Zoning Status

Monday, November 22, 2004

Turkey's Dark Past

"Does Turkey have an Islamic Heritage Free of anti-Westernism and anti-Semitism?"

"Unfortunately the influence of Turkey's great Westernizing leader Kemal Ataturk is waning, and there is growing pro-fundamentalist Islamic sentiment in Turkey."

"There is one overriding reason to be concerned about admitting Turkey into the European Union, and that is the potential effect of Turkish membership on the Muslim population of European countries which are already having serious problems as a result of their large Islamic populations. If Turkey joins the EU, a significant percentage of Turkey's over 60 million Muslims may enter Europe. Furthermore, many millions of Muslims from other Islamic countries are likely to use Turkey as their gateway to Europe. Once they attain legal status in Turkey, these Muslims from other Islamic countries will be free to go anywhere in Europe."

Turkey's Dark Past

Turks, Germans march against Islamic violence

"Under the banner "hand in hand against terror", more than 20,000 Turkish immigrants and Germans marched through Germany's fourth largest city of Cologne on Sunday to condemn violence by and against Muslims."

"Islam is a religion of peace," Guenther Beckstein, arch conservative interior minister of Bavaria, told the rally. "Terrorists are criminals. Those who burn mosques are not decent Germans. They're criminals."

Reuters AlertNet - Turks, Germans march against Islamic violence

Religious diversity in Turkey spurned

"Turkey has long viewed its non-Muslim minorities with a certain ambivalence, defending freedom of worship while tightly regulating the affairs of religious institutions. Christians of Greek and Armenian descent, in particular, have said they are blocked from using, selling and renovating their churches' properties."

"Some legal constraints on religious foundations already have been relaxed over the last three years, although European and American human rights monitors, citing cases like the Panayia church, have reported that local officials have been reluctant to carry out the changes.

For many Turks, though, even a discussion of minorities raises fears of separatism. Some have argued that lifting government controls on religious institutions would undermine Turkey's secular foundations. And Turkey's president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, recently warned that drawing attention to Turkey's sectarian or cultural diversity harmed the state."

The Sun News | 11/21/2004 | Religious diversity in Turkey spurned

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Minority rights demands spark questions on Turkish national identity

"As a child, Hrant Dink dreamed of becoming a detective, a hope that was shattered by Turkey’s unwritten rule that Jews and Christians may not join the police, the Foreign Ministry or become officers in the military. "

"Is being Turkish a matter of ethnicity, religion, or simply citizenship? "

"Many Turkish Muslims continued to regard Christians and Jews as foreigners and guests in their new state and there was deep suspicions toward Greeks and Armenians, the main Christian communities, who rose up against the Ottoman Empire as it collapsed. "

Minority rights demands spark questions on Turkish national identity

Friday, November 19, 2004

Miracle In Turkish Town

"today, the country's Jewish population is closer to 20,000, with many Jews having left for Israel and other countries over the decades following periods of political and economic instability. And while today's Jewish community lives mostly in Istanbul, there used to be pockets of rich Jewish life in cities and town stretching across Turkey, from its border with Greece to its frontier with Syria and Iraq."

International News

Cursing America

"There is a marked difference between the viewpoints of the Middle Eastern people and those of Turkish people concerning the West. Turkish people have a tradition of being able to view the East-West issue with a cooler composure and to approach matters with more commonsense. The propaganda against the Islamic world and the images created after September 11, have brought the Turkish people, most of whom are Muslims, closer to suffering people in the Middle East."


Turkish journey: A town called Trouble

"How can any country so full of kind and generous people be excluded from the EU?"

"When asked why the road was left in this challenging state, he says: "Because it is the road to Tunceli".

Tunceli (pronounced Tuhn-jeli) has, for pretty much as long as the Republic existed, meant trouble: "

BBC NEWS | Europe | Turkish journey: A town called Trouble

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Is a Christian or Kurd ’a Turk’?

"The struggle, they say, is between a Turkish national identity forged in the crucible of World War I and its aftermath, and the growing desire to create a more inclusive, multicultural society.

It is something akin, they say, to a second modernizing - and sometimes difficult - transformation for the country. "

"the board’s report says Turkey has fallen behind modern norms in its understanding of minority communities.

It calls for Turkey to recognize groups such as non-Sunni Muslims, Assyrian Christians, and cultural and linguistic minorities. It also calls for constitutional changes to protect individual and minority rights. "
KurdishMedia News - Daily Kurdish news updates

Turkish Football

Turkish Football
Originally uploaded by TurkeyNEWZ.
One of Turkey's great passions, football packs stadiums all over the country. Pray that someday stadiums will be filled with people worshipping God.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

European Muslims and the Quest for the Soul of Islam by Mustafa Akyol

"There are about thirteen million Muslims living in Europe, nearly all of them law-abiding citizens. Since September 11, 2001, however, European Muslims have been seen as potential base for a radical, anti-Western ideology founded on a crude misinterpretation of Islam that has nothing to do with true Islamic faith and is rejected by the majority of Muslims worldwide. The contest between these two views of Islam may define the course of the 21st century."

"We need keep in mind the Turkish example. Turkey has an Islamic heritage free of anti-Westernism and anti-Semitism and quite favorable to open society. Said Nursi, probably the most influential 20th century Turkish Muslim thinker, is known for his appeals for an alliance between Islam and Christianity against communism. Nursi's most prominent follower, Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen, leads today a moderate Islamic movement known for its global advocacy of modern education and inter-faith dialogue."
FrontPage magazine.com :: European Muslims and the Quest for the Soul of Islam by Mustafa Akyol

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Christmas in Turkey

The Holiday Season is upon us. Maybe many of you didn't know that the origin of Santa Claus lies in Turkey. Go here for the rest of the story . . .

Christmas in Turkey

Monday, November 15, 2004

Fears Persist Year After Attack in Turkey

`The incidents had the opposite effects of those intended. ... It provided an opportunity to provide solidarity. The synagogues were repaired and were quickly reopened,'' said Ilter Turan, a political scientist at Istanbul Bilgi University. ``It demonstrated that Turkish society took a dim view of radicalism and terrorism.''

"The Turkish public was outraged by the bombings.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accused by secular critics of Islamist leanings, condemned the attacks and even made an unprecedented visit to the chief rabbi's office shortly after the bombings. Erdogan's stance, coupled with the public outrage and intense police raids, have helped to undercut support for radical Islamic groups in Turkey, analysts said. "

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Fears Persist Year After Attack in Turkey

Ten 'must-do' excursions for servicemembers in Turkey

"If there are 10 must-dos for servicemembers stationed in Turkey, there are 1,000 things you’ll leave behind without experiencing.

Turkey is just like that — arguably the most destination-packed country in the world. There’s something for everyone, from the package-tour beach seeker to the most sophisticated adventurers. "

Ten 'must-do' excursions for servicemembers in Turkey

Sunday, November 14, 2004

This hamam is a far cry from a massage

A humorous look at someone's first visit to a hamam.

"In the center of the room was a large, flowing fountain. Men lazed on mats, either meditating or sipping tea. Others were on tables, being massaged by shirtless Arabic men, and for some reason, all I could think of was the line from Airplane: "Ever been to Turkish prison, Joey?"

"Each room had gotten progressively warmer - calling to mind frogs, slowly boiled without realizing their fate - and this room was no exception; sweat was dripping off me now. This main room featured a raised stone platform in the center, suitable for ritual sacrifice, and several stone shelves on the sides, where men were massaging other men."

TownOnline.com - Woburn Advocate - Opinion & Letters

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Happy Sugar Holiday

Seker Bayram (Sugar Holiday) is one of the biggest holidays here in Turkey. It's a great time of visiting with friends and family after the month of Ramadan. Remember the workers and believers during this time as they reach out to those around them.

"Bayram visits lets people get together and forget about past mistakes. Arguments are no longer remembered and everything is forgiven.

Starting from tomorrow, we will be celebrating one of our holiest bayrams. "
Turks.US - Happy Sugar Holiday

Pisidian Project

Your giving can help fund a large distribution project in which it is planned that 70,000 copies of the JESUS film, a video on starting a local church and a Scripture portion containing Luke, Acts, and Romans, will be shared. Volunteers will come to a large Central Asian country to distribute these materials throughout the summer. Funds will go toward purchasing the materials for distribution at a cost of $3.50 per packet. 72401-463-264-03

Special Projects

Friday, November 12, 2004

Misreading Islam

"America's misreading of the Arab world – and our current misadventure in Iraq – may have really begun in 1950."

"There in Istanbul, in the heart of what once was a Muslim empire, a Western-style democracy was being born.

The hero of this grand transformation was Kemal Ataturk. A generation before Lewis's visit to Turkey, Ataturk (the last name, which he adopted, means "father of all Turks"), had seized control of the dying Ottoman Sultanate."

"Iraq, of course, does not seem to be heading in that direction."

Misreading Islam

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Commemorating Ataturk

"Turkey is today commemorating the 66th anniversary of the death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -- the founding father of Turkey, who after winning the country's independence from occupying armies following World War I, established the modern Turkish Republic from the ashes of the "sick man of Europe," the Ottoman Empire."

"(Ataturk) introduced a modern civil code and transformed the people of this land from a religious community into the Turkish nation. Religion and politics were segregated. That was the revolution that created today's modern secular Turkish Republic of predominantly Muslim Turks -- a living example in the post Sept. 11 world that Islam and democracy can indeed coexist."

Commemorating Ataturk

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Shades of Islamic Fundamentalism

"For political reasons, whether it is a question of Islam or Europe, certain media label conservatives, fundamentalists and ultrafundamentalists as fundamentalists, but their positions are very different.

In the Muslim world, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a conservative, the Al Jazeera preacher Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi is a fundamentalist, and Osama bin Laden is an ultrafundamentalist. In the Christian realm, both Bush as well as Rocco Buttiglione are conservatives, but the political polemic labels them fundamentalists. "
Shades of Islamic Fundamentalism

Muslim students unite in prayer

On the North Texas campus, Turkish students and others practice the fast.

"Eight million Muslims in America condemn terrorism and 1.5 billion Muslims in the world condemn terrorism! There is no place for terrorism in Islam!" Meek proclaimed.

"We're not trying to earn Heaven. Without faith, there is no salvation," Meek said. "Islam is a religion that teaches goodness in every way. The intentions are what matter. Nothing in Islam matters unless the intentions are correct."
North Texas Daily- YOUR CAMPUS CONNECTION - Muslim students unite in prayer

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

'New' Turkey, mostly Asian, eyes Europe

The past has vanished.
Everything that was uttered belongs there.
Now is the time to think of new things.

- Jelaluddin Rumi,
Turkish poet (1207-1273)

Paradise Post - News Features

Monday, November 08, 2004

Night of Power - Tuesday, November 9, 2004

The Night of Power takes place on the 27th night of Ramazan. Muslims believe it is the night when God is most accessible to devout worshippers. They believe the angel Gabriel dictated messages to Muhammad that represented the will of God for His people. After Muhammad’s death, these messages were compiled in the Quran. This 27th night is believed to be the night these messages were given to Muhammad. Devout Muslims spend the entire night in a special prayer vigil commemorating this event. Many Muslims believe that on this night God hears prayers directly Himself or through the angel Gabriel. Muslims often have supernatural "encounters" with God on this night through dreams, visions, visitations and healings. These manifestations may continue during the night and weeks which follow.

1. Pray for God to reveal Himself to Muslims through the Holy Spirit during their dreams and visions, demonstrating His love and truth.
2. Pray that their minds and hearts will be open to hearing and responding to the gospel message.
3. Pray for a mighty movement of the Holy Spirit among Muslims during their prayer vigil.

Minority Phobia' Haunts Turkey

"But both the Turkish establishment and Turkish public share a widespread belief that the Christian West then used the stick of religion and nationalism in Eastern Europe to break up the Ottoman Empire during the 19th and 20th centuries. "
Text News

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Time to Talk Turkey

"The EU needs to set aside pettiness and consider Turkey’s full membership"

"20 to 30 percent of the French population under the age of 25 is now Muslim. Statistics also indicate that native-born French are not having many babies, but France’s large Muslim immigrant community is, and it is the largest in any state in the European Union, currently representing approximately 7 percent of the nation’s 60 million people."
Full Story

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Marines turn to God ahead of anticipated Fallujah battle

"The three laid down in a rubber dinghy filled with water and the chaplain's assistant, Navy corpsman Richard Vaughn, plunged their heads beneath the surface.

Smiling, Vaughn baptised them "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

Dripping wet, Corporal Keith Arguelles beamed after his baptism.

"I just wanted to make sure I did this before I headed into the fight," he said on the military base not far from the city of Fallujah."

Turkey And EU Speak 'Different Languages' On Minorities

"The Turkish definition of a minority is based on religion and not on ethnicity.

Turkey had long resisted demands for more Kurdish freedoms. "
Text News

EUROPE: Americans said 'yes' to war, says European press on Bush victory

Some responses from the Turkish press:

"The left-leaning Turkish Cumhuriyet daily said the world was now "at the mercy of Bush" after US voters ignored international concerns about his aggressive policies.

But a columnist in the Turkish newspaper Radikal forecast that the incumbent nonetheless will "aim to eradicate the polarization ... because it seems an almost impossible task to run the world and his country without a certain compromise."

Turkey, much like the rest of Europe, believes their very liberal anti-American press. Please remember this in your prayer time. It does impact the work here.
Asia Pacific Media Network :: EUROPE: Americans said 'yes' to war, says European press on Bush victory

Friday, November 05, 2004

New Faith Sparks a Fire

In the Trakya region of NW Turkey, God is working to bring more people to himself. Two months ago, I wrote about a man and his wife that were baptized from a city in this area. Since that time, he has faithfully shared everything he has learned with all of his friends. His friends have seen the change in his life and have started to respond. 3 or 4 of them have already admitted that they are moving towards Christianity.

As God works through this man's relationships to the relationships of others, the potential for a great church to be born in this city exists. Thank God for this man's faithfulness and pray that he will continue to be used by God in his city and the surrounding areas. Pray for his friends to respond in faith and believe and for God to use this to spread the Gospel all over this land.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

What Christians Need to Know about Muslims

"The simple fact remains that our Muslim neighbors do not know Christ. And that, says Emir Caner, should break our hearts and compel us to reach out in love."

"When asked about his own conversion, Caner quickly points to the sovereignty and providence of God. That, and a “persistent, obnoxious youth who wouldn’t give up on sharing Jesus with us. He invited us to every revival, rally, lock-in, you name it. He wanted us to be there.”

Crosswalk.com - Emir Caner: What Christians Need to Know about Muslims

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Filmmaker Who Criticized Islam Slain

"Filmmaker Theo van Gogh, 47, had been threatened after the August airing of the movie "Submission," which he made with a right-wing Dutch politician who had renounced the Islamic faith of her birth."
-- Beliefnet.com

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Christlike Kerry Roams Spiritual Universe

"Mr. Kerry grabs at any showy idea to demonstrate his sense of urgency. As a response to militant Islam and to encourage moderate Muslims, the presidential aspirant proposes that "the great religious figures of the planet" - he mentioned the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Dalai Lama - hold a summit.

To do exactly...what?"Lenni Brenner: Christlike Kerry Roams Spiritual Universe

Spiritual Leaders Came Together in Fast Breaking Dinner

"Professor Ali Bardakoglu, Director of Religious Affairs, hosted a fast breaking dinner, iftar, that brought together spiritual leaders throughout Istanbul."

Monday, November 01, 2004

Love thine enemy

The Humanists are acknowledging that their ideals have not surpassed religion:
"Not long ago, humanists could feel that theirs was the way of the future. But now, Dave Belden argues, we will need to relearn how to make common cause with religious progressives"

"Current projections predict more than one billion Pentecostal Christians alone by 2050. Christianity is growing faster even than Islam. We can expect religious wars as well as mass conversions in this century. "
New Humanist November 2004

Istanbul (BiblePlaces.com)

Turkey is a land filled with Biblical and Christian history. This site tells the role some of the most prominent locations in Turkey played in that history. This link focuses specifically on sites in Istanbul.
Istanbul (BiblePlaces.com)