Islam Online, UK
Dec 31 2004

Protestant Proselytizers Eye 10% of Turks: Report

Turkey is a pre-dominantly Muslim country.

CAIRO, December 31 ( - Protestant missionaries are
planning to proselytize some 10 per cent of Turkey's 70 million
population by 2020, the Turkish army warned in a report published
Friday, December 31.

Up to one million gospels are planned to be distributed among the
Turkish people during this period, Turkish daily Zaman reported
Friday, citing the `Proselytizing Activities in Turkey and the World'

The missionaries are trying to fill the `spiritual void' left by the
youths' ignorance about the basic tenets and rituals of Islam,
according to the report.

The proselytizers are playing on pitting the Sunnis and the
`Alawiyyin against one another to preach about the Christian faith,
the report added.

``Alawiyyin are originally a sect of the Shi`ah called `Nusayriyyah'.
The Nusayriyyah is a movement that emerged in the third century after
Hijrah. They claim that `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) is

The Turkish army report further said that the Protestant missionaries
intend to establish a religious institute to prepare a generation of
theologians in Turkey.

It put at 69 the number of unofficial churches and places of worship
related to other communities, including 47 churches for the
Protestants, nine for the Baha'is and 13 for Jehovah's Witnesses

The Baha'iyyah is also a Shiite sect that was named after one of its
leaders, Husayn Nuri. This faith emerged as a Shiite sect that was
led by some Shiites who totally deviated from Islam.

The Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) are members of a worldwide Christian
religion who actively share with others their beliefs about God and

They use the Hebrew name of God, commonly rendered Jehovah in
English, and embark on visible proselytizing, including personal
visits to neighbors, and conducting free home Bible study courses,
according to the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

Thousands Proselytized

The report further said that 15,000 Turks have been converted to
Christianity, and other sects like Baha'iyyah over the past few

Of the converters, 185 Muslims have officially changed their religion
to Christianity over the past three years and only one to Judaism,
the report added.

No law explicitly prohibits proselytizing or religious conversions in
Turkey. Many prosecutors and police, however, regard proselytizing
and religious activism with suspicion, especially when such
activities are deemed to have political overtones, according to the

Approximately 99 percent of Turkey's population are Muslim, the
majority of whom are Sunni.

In addition to the country's Sunni Muslim majority, there are an
estimated 5 to 12 million `Alawiyyin, according to the US State

There are several other religious groups, mostly concentrated in
Istanbul and other large cities.

While exact membership figures are not available, these include an
estimated 65,000 Armenian Orthodox Christians, 25,000 Jews, and 3,000
to 5,000 Greek Orthodox Christians.

These three groups have special legal minority status under the 1923
Lausanne Treaty. There also are approximately 10,000 Baha'is, an
estimated 15,000 Syrian Orthodox (Syriac) Christians, 3,000
Protestants, and small, undetermined numbers of Bulgarian, Chaldean,
Nestorian, Georgian, Roman Catholic, and Maronite Christians.