Reaching the Nations International Church Growth Almanac

Country reports on the LDS Church around the world from a landmark almanac. Includes detailed analysis of history, context, culture, needs, challenges and opportunities for church growth.

Turkey

By David Stewart and Matt Martinich

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Geography

Area: 783,562 square km. Occupying Asia Minor or Anatolia, Turkey links the Middle East with Europe and borders Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Greece, and Bulgaria. Turkey is surrounded by the Black Sea to the north, Aegean Sea to the west, and Mediterranean to the southwest. Turkey controls the Turkish Straits (the Bosporus, the Dardanelles, and Sea of Marmara), which connect the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. The Euphrates and Tigris Rivers originate in eastern Turkey and flow to the southeast into Syria and Iraq. Lake Van is the largest lake and is located in eastern Turkey. Western Turkey consists of plains, hills and valleys, whereas Central Turkey is a large plateau. Mountain ranges cover most of eastern Turkey, and Mount Ararat stands along the eastern border with Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Climate varies by location, but overall, Turkey experiences a temperate climate with dry, hot summers and mild, wet winters that are more severe in the interior and east. Earthquakes are the primary natural hazard. Environmental issues include pollution, deforestation, and concerns over oil spills in the Turkish Straits. Turkey is divided into eighty-one administrative provinces.

 

Peoples

Turkish: 70%–75%

Kurdish: 19%

Other: 7%–12%

 

Population: 82,017,514 (July 2020)

Annual Growth Rate: 0.45% (2020)

Fertility Rate: 1.96 children born per woman (2020)

Life Expectancy: 73.3 male, 78.2 female (2020)

 

Languages: Turkish (84%), Kurdish (10%), Arabic (3%), Zazaki languages (1%), Kabardian (1%), Iranian Persian (1%). Turkish is the official language. Languages with over one million native speakers include Turkish (69 million), Kurdish (8.2 million), Arabic (2.5 million), Zazaki languages (1.3 million), and Kabardian (1.0 million).

Literacy: 96.2% (2017)

 

History

Anatolia is one of the earliest inhabited regions of the world. The Hittites were the first known large empire and ruled the region from 1700 BC to 1200 BC. The Assyrians and Phrygians ruled portions of Anatolia prior to Greek settlement. The Persians conquered the region until Alexander the Great retook the territory. The Romans controlled Anatolia until the Byzantine Empire came to power and made Byzantium, or Constantinople, the capital. Following the Mongol invasions, the Ottoman Empire began taking shape and ruled for several centuries. At its height in the seventeenth century, the Ottoman Empire stretched from coastal areas of Northern Africa and the Red Sea to Hungary and Romanian in the north and Iran to the east. Following the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the nation of Turkey was formed in 1923 and included Anatolia. Mustafa Kemal—known as Ataturk, meaning “Father Turk”—established the modern Turkish state and ruled until his death in the late 1930s. Ataturk successfully turned Turkey into an industrialized nation in a short period through one-party rule despite the recent defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Ataturk was a staunch secularist and limited Islamic influence on government. Democratic elections occurred in 1950 resulting in the Democratic Party coming to power. Turkey joined NATO in 1952. Four coups between 1960 and 2000 overthrew the ruling party, but civilian rule was quickly restored after each incident. Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 due to the threat of Greek annexation and captured over a third of the island before a cease-fire was reached. Turkish-controlled areas of the island became a de facto state named Northern Cyprus that today only Turkey recognizes. Turkey has sought to enter the European Union and continues to petition for membership although negotiations have stalled in recent years. Terrorist violence and Kurdish resistance in the southeast have posed challenges. A failed coup in 2016 resulted in significant upheaval in government stability and function due to suspected ties of more than 100,000 individuals with the coup. Consequently, many civil servants, academics, journalists, and military personnel have been dismissed, arrested, or suspended. In the late 2010s, Turkey’s government transitioned from a parliamentary system to a presidential system.

 

Culture

Turkish culture constitutes an agglomeration of internal and external influences. Music, literature, architecture, and cuisine draw from Anatolian, Middle Eastern, Greek, Balkan, and other cultures. Today there is a strong sense of separation between religion and government due to Ataturk’s legacy despite their close intertwinement during prior Turkish history. Sports are popular, particularly soccer. Turkey has a low alcohol consumption rate but one of the highest cigarette consumption rates among Muslim nations.

 

Economy

GDP per capita: $27,000 (2017) [45.2% of U.S.]

Human Development Index: 0.806 (2018)

Corruption Index: 39 (2019)

The economy has developed rapidly over the past several decades with intermittent periods of slow growth. Services employ 54.9% of the labor force and produce 60.7% of the GDP. Agriculture remains an important sector, with 18.4% of the labor force working in farming. Primary agriculture products include tobacco, cotton, grain, and olives. Industry accounts for 26.6% of the labor force and 32.3% of the GDP. Textiles, food processing, car manufacturing, electronics, and mining are important industries. The unemployment rate jumped to 14.5% in 2009 due to the global financial crisis and was estimated at 10.9% in 2017. Twenty-two percent (22%) of the population lives below the poverty line. Turkey’s geographical location and large population provides ample opportunity for trade, foreign investment, and natural resource extraction. The Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan Pipeline runs through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and began transporting oil from the Caspian Sea to the eastern Mediterranean in 2006. The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline began to transport natural gas in 2018. Primary trade partners include Germany, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia.

 

Corruption continues to prevent more widespread and stable economic growth and jeopardizes potential EU membership. Erdogan’s autocratic leadership has raised significant concerns with corruption, particularly to stifle or persecute political opponents. Audits may reveal corrupt practices of government and individuals but inspectors choose whether to prosecute illegal activity. It is unclear to what extent corruption occurs due to inspectors failing to report.

 

Faiths

Muslim: 99.8%

Other: 0.2%

 

Christians

Denominations – Members – Congregations

Armenian Orthodox – 90,000

Roman Catholic – 25,000

Syrian Orthodox – 25,000

Russian Orthodox – 15,000

Chaldean – 3,000

Greek Orthodox – 2,000

Protestants 3,000

Jehovah’s Witnesses – 4,221 – 52

Latter-day Saints – 538 – 8

Seventh Day Adventists – 482 – 5 (includes Iran and North Cyprus)

 

Religion

Notwithstanding nominal religious freedom, nearly the entire population is Muslim. Christians and minority religious groups typically reside in Istanbul and the largest cities. Many of these groups are also ethnic minorities. Secularism is higher in Turkey than many Muslim nations in the Middle East, yet Christian missionaries have experienced little success. Muslims hold conflicting views regarding what the relationship should be between religion and government. A moderate Islamic party was elected in 2003 with an absolute majority. Ataturk banned headscarves for university students and women working in the public sector as they were viewed as backwards-looking Islamic symbols hampering progress. The ban was lifted in 2008 by a constitutional amendment, which was then annulled by Turkey’s highest court. Nonetheless, the election of an Islamic party in 2007 on the platform of repealing the headscarf ban demonstrates broad-based Islamicist sentiment.

 

Religious Freedom

The constitution guarantees religious freedom and forbids discrimination and persecution. Rights for religious minorities not recognized by the government’s interpretation of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty are limited. Legislation is in place that forbids religious persecution. Most restrictions on religious freedom are imposed by the government and not society at large. The 2016 attempted coup against the government has resulted in greater restrictions on religious freedom due to anxiety about suspected ties between certain religious groups and the alleged masterminds of the coup. The indictment of one of these non-state actors, an American Christian pastor, also included The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Scores of Jehovah’s Witnesses face prosecution due to objections to mandatory military service. Registration of religious groups usually occurs under the category of an association to gain certain rights to limit potential harassment. Protestants have complained of bureaucratic red-tape in regards to obtaining registration for places of worship. Proselytism remains legal despite recent increases in religious freedom instructions imposed by the government, but it is often regarded as socially unacceptable and sometimes dangerous. Christians and other religious groups are allowed to teach and talk to others about their faith. Non-Muslims faced pressure and threats from the Muslim majority resulting in diminished religious freedom for these groups. Religious education in public schools is required.[1]

 

Largest Cities

Urban: 76.1% (2020)

Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Adana,Gaziantep, Konya, Antalya, Diyarbakir, Mersin, Kayseri, Eskisehir, Gebze, Denizli, Samsun, Sanliurfa, Kahramanmaras, Adapazari, Van, Malatya, Batman, Erzurum, Manisa, Elazig, Sivas, Antakya, Izmit, Balikesir, Corlu, Trabzon, Corum, Tarsus, Adiyaman, Kutahya, Aydin, Isparta, Afyonkarahisar, Osmaniye, Aksaray, Usak, Inegol, Kirikkale, Iskenderun, Kiziltepe, Silivri, Duzce, Tekirdag, Bolu, Torbali, Edirne, Alanya, Karakopru, Karaman, Korfez, Menemen, Golcuk, Tokat, Siirt, Talas, Ordu, Manavgat, Siverek, Turgutlu, Nigde, Kirsehir, Derince, Canakkale, Bandirma, Erzincan, Yalova, Akhisar, Cizre, Cerkezkoy, Nazilli, Karabuk, Kastamonu, Mardin, Luleburgaz, Bingol, Eregli, Edremit, Agri, Giresun, Ceyhan, Amasya, Nizip, Nevsehir, Viransehir, Kartepe, Kapakli, Bodrum, Eregli, Salihli, Zonguldak, Gemlik, Mus, Rize, Elbistan, Fethiye, Kilis, Polatli.

Cities in bold have no official congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

Six of the 101 cities with over 100,000 inhabitants have a Church congregation. Sixty-three percent (63%) of the national population lives in the 101 most populous cities.

 

Church History

The first Latter-day Saint missionaries preached in Turkey in 1850, and four years later, the first congregation was organized for British soldiers fighting in the Crimean War. The Turkish Mission was organized in 1884 and the first Arabian converts joined the Church in Aintab in 1889. The mission was discontinued in 1909, reorganized in 1921, and relocated to Palestine and Syria in 1933. Initial success occurred with Armenians.[2] However, all formal missionary activity in Turkey from approximately the 1930s until the early 2010s. Church meetings in Turkey also appeared to be disbanded for multiple consecutive decades in the early and mid-twentieth century until United States military personnel began to hold meetings in major cities in the 1950s.

 

American military personnel were stationed in Turkey in sufficient numbers to organize branches in several cities during the 1970s, including Izmir (1970), Adana (1975), Ankara (1975), and Istanbul (1979). Some of the first native Turks to join the Church were baptized in the late 1980s in Germany. Turkey became part of the newly created Europe/Mediterranean Area in 1991.[3] In 2000, Turkey became part of the Europe East Area. Local members and humanitarian senior missionaries were primarily responsible for the finding, teaching, and baptizing of new converts during the 1990s and 2000s albeit very few joined the Church.

 

The Church became legally recognized by the government in October 2011 as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—Istanbul Association. In February 2012, the association became officially operational and held its first church services for the Istanbul Branch in the new Levent meetinghouse. That same month, the first young full-time missionaries were assigned to Istanbul from the Bulgaria Sofia Mission to begin formal proselytism activity.[4] Four missionaries were assigned, including three Americans and one Brit, who were referred as “volunteers” rather than missionaries. The missionaries were relocated to Bulgaria in mid-2012 due to visa renewal problems, but they returned in October 2012. Meticulous records kept by the first missionaries resulted in an efficient restart to missionary work that October.[5] The first young, full-time missionaries to serve in Ankara were assigned to this city in mid-2013.[6] By mid-2014, there were four senior missionary couples and twelve young, full-time missionaries assigned to Turkey (six in Ankara and six in Istanbul).[7]

 

In 2015, the Church organized the Central Eurasian Mission from a division of the Bulgaria Sofia Mission and the Russia Novosibirsk Missions with the new mission’s headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey. The new mission included the entire country of Turkey as well as Azerbaijan and the Central Eurasian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.[8] In 2016, the Church transferred all fifteen of its young, full-time missionaries to Germany[9] due to concerns with political instability that resulted from the attempted coup against the government. Missionaries returned to Turkey shortly thereafter. The countries of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan were transferred back to the Russia Novosibirsk Mission in 2018.

 

The Church evacuated all twenty-eight young, full-time missionaries and five senior missionary couples from Turkey in April 2018 due to “heightened political tensions” that appeared to make proselytism conditions unsafe.[10] The Church had announced the consolidation of the Bulgaria Sofia Mission with the Central Eurasian Mission earlier that year,[11] and later moved the mission headquarters from Istanbul to Sofia. Apostle Elder Dale G. Renlund visited Istanbul, Turkey in 2019.[12] As of early 2020, full-time missionaries have not appeared to have returned to serve in Turkey.

 

Membership Growth

Church Membership: 538 (2018)

In 2003, there were 151 members. Membership growth increased to 186 in 2006, 254 in 2010, 439 in 2015, and 547 in 2017. Annual membership growth rates in the 2010s generally surpassed 10%. The decline in Church membership in 2018 appeared attributed to the reporting of mission branch Church membership in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan being transfer from Turkey to Russia. Ethnic Turks comprise a minority of members in Turkey as most are foreigners from the Middle East or Western nations.

 

Congregational Growth

Branches: 8 (2012)

In 1991 there were four branches.[13] In early 2010, the number of congregations remained unchanged from two decades earlier. Branches met in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Adana. The Adana Military Branch serves the needs of members in the United States military at Incirlik Air Base. In 2009, three humanitarian senior missionary couples were stationed in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir.

 

Additional branches opened in the 2010s due to the expansion of the Church into additional cities, efforts to establish language-specific congregations, and better coordinate missionary activity. The Church organized a mission branch in 2015 to service members in areas distant from established branches. The Church also organized its first branch in Gaziantep in 2015. In 2017, the Church created a second branch in Istanbul to service English speakers. As a result, Istanbul became the first Turkish city to have more than one branch. In 2019, the Church organized its first Iranian Persian (Farsi)-speaking branch in Turkey in the city of Isparta. No districts operated in Turkey as of early 2020. Instead, all branches report directly to the mission president.

 

Activity and Retention

Very few Turks have joined the Church in Turkey. The first Turk to join the Church in Ankara was in 2006. In early 2009, there were ten active members in the Ankara Branch. There were twenty-two people who attended the first meeting of the Istanbul Branch in its new meetinghouse in February 2012, and there were ten active youth in the branch in November 2012.[14] In 2012, 40-45 members attended a devotional with international Church leaders in Istanbul.[15] Elder Jeffrey R. Holland met with 150 Latter-day Saints in Istanbul in late 2015.[16] Dozens of new converts joined the Church in branches in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir during the late 2010s. Returned missionaries who served in Turkey during the mid- to late 2010s noted that most branches had between 10-30 active members. Convert retention rates one year after baptisms were estimated at 60% or greater for most years in the late 2010s. However, the entire Central Eurasian Mission reported fewer than 100 convert baptisms a year during this time. Missionaries operate through passive finding approaches out of respect for local culture. National active membership is likely around 150, or 25-30% of total membership.

 

Language Materials

Languages with Latter-day Saint Scripture: Turkish, Arabic, Iranian Persian, Bulgarian, English.

All LDS scriptures are available in Arabic and Bulgarian. Only the Book of Mormon has been translated into Turkish and Iranian Persian. Plans were announced in 2017 to translate the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price into Turkish and Iranian Persian.[17] Many unit, temple, priesthood, Relief Society, Sunday School, young women, primary, missionary, and family history materials are available in Turkish, Arabic, Iranian Persian, and Bulgarian. Several CES manuals are available in Bulgarian.The Liahona has four Bulgarian issues a year.

 

Meetinghouses

The Adana Military Branch meets in the Incirlik Air Base chapel. Otherwise, all other branches meet in rented facilities.

 

Humanitarian and Development Work

The Church has conducted significant humanitarian and development work in Turkey. There have been 633 projects completed by the Church as of 2019, including 520 community projects, seventy-four wheelchair donation initiatives, twenty refugee response efforts, twelve emergency response initiatives, four maternal and newborn care projects, and three clean water initiatives.[18] Tens of thousands of articles of clothing and blankets were sent to Kurdish refugees in 1991.[19] The Church donated $50,000 to earthquake relief in 1999.[20] In 2009, LDS Charities donated tables, chairs, and toys to a needy school in a village outside of Ankara and school supplies in other areas. The Church donated emergency supplies and hygiene kits to victims of a flash flood near Istanbul valued in the tens of thousands of U.S. dollars in the late 2000s.

 

 

Opportunities, Challenges, and Prospects

 

Religious Freedom

Prior to the assignment of young missionaries in 2012, senior missionaries who served in Turkey reported that they could not preach about the Church but only answer questions without instigating a conversation about non-Muslim religion. The assignment of young full-time missionaries has occurred within the confines of the law, and the Church must be sensitive to not violate any laws or societal norms on Christian proselytism. Full-time missionaries appear to work only through member referral due to government regulations and societal expectations. Local members have to be cautious not to violate any laws. Care in following these guidelines will be required to build a positive relationship with the government and minimize safety risks to young missionaries. Although legally the Church in Turkey enjoys privileges unusual for homogenously Muslim nations, political instability and recent government suspicion of religious minorities creates a challenging climate for formal missionary efforts with foreigners. This has resulted in legitimate safety concerns that may include being detailed by government officials with little or no concrete evidence to warrant such action. There have also been problems with Turkish members who have apostatized and spread false information about the Church, which has damaged the Church’s reputation and spread disinformation.

 

Cultural Issues

Native converts who join the Church in Turkey face some isolation and harassment but do not appear to face as severe persecution as in some nearby nations. Nevertheless, some Turks have postponed or suspended plans for baptism after family opposition. Forming a cohesive community of Turkish coverts will be essential to prospects for indigenous growth. Low alcohol consumption rates provide opportunity, but high rates of tobacco use present challenges. The Church benefits from a more secular and tolerant society compared to many other Middle Eastern nations, although proselytism is limited, and growth remains low.

 

National Outreach

The vast majority of Turkey’s population is unreached by the Church’s missionary program when missionaries are stationed in the country. Full-time missionaries have only served in approximately six cities in modern times. Outreach centers only function in six of Turkey’s eighty-one administrative provinces (7%). Provinces with an official Latter-day Saint branch account for 36% of the national population, although very few have been reached given the short duration intermittent proselytism has occurred. Christians are primarily concentrated in the largest cities, and the Church appears to have access to some of these Christian communities. The Church has had the challenge to teach and support members who live in cities distant from the nearest branches. As a result, members have been video-conferenced into worship services such as in the Izmir Branch.

 

Internet sites maintained by Turkish members living inside and outside Turkey have been instrumental in bringing some Turks into the Church. The Church has no official country website for Turkey, but some Turkish materials are available on the Church’s official website, including the Book of Mormon. The Church has appeared to deliberately avoid Turkey-specific websites, as the Church used to operate a Turkish version of the Mormon Newsroom website at http://www.mormonhaber.org/. However, the Church took the website down in approximately 2017 likely due to concerns with government suspicion on foreign religious groups.

 

Member Activity and Convert Retention

Convert retention appears moderately high due to the high level of devotion of investigators in consistently attending Church meetings and sacrifice required to join the Church given societal opposition. Local members supplied large numbers of teaching referrals to full-time missionaries upon their arrival to Istanbul in early 2012. Although most prospective members are found through the efforts of full-time missionaries, fellow prospective members have been a valuable source to find interested individuals. The personal connection of prospective converts to established members may result in good convert retention, although the possible introduction of quick-baptism tactics by nonnative missionaries is a potential concern. Member activity likely depends on the level of doctrinal understanding and regularity of church attendance in foreign member’s native countries.

 

Ethnic Issues and Integration

The Church’s branches typically have a high degree of ethnic diversity. Elder Ronald A. Rasband observed in 2014 that Iranians, Iraqis, Turks, and Western expatriates comprised the bulk of Church membership in Turkey.[21] By mid-2014, full-time missionaries observed that many, if not most, of the members of the branches in Ankara and Istanbul were Iranians and Iraqis. The demographics of Church membership in Turkey are vastly different than the general population due to much higher receptivity among foreigners, specifically Iranians. This may result in challenges to attract more Turk converts given the demographics of active membership. Conflicts between the Turks and Kurds may challenge future missionary efforts among these two rival ethnic groups, although the Gaziantep Branch is the only branch that operates in areas where there are sizable numbers of Kurds.

 

Language Issues

Most members in the Istanbul Branch spoke English in late 2012 albeit Church services were held in Turkish and translated into English.[22] A large body of Turkish-language materials provides great opportunities to reach the majority of the population. In Ankara in the early 2010s, half of the branch members spoke or understood Turkish, but most used English in Church meetings to communicate. However both languages were used to conduct meetings. This practice is convenient for senior couple missionaries and expatriate members but underscores the Church’s foreignness to prospective converts. Turkish and Iranian Persian translations of the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price will be valuable to promote gospel scholarship and testimony building. Future prospects for Church materials in Kurdish, Dimli, Kabardian, and Azerbaijani are low, as there are no congregations nearby provinces in which these languages are spoken.

 

Leadership

Some local Turkish Church members have served in leadership positions. The branch president of the Istanbul Branch has historically been Turkish. A former branch president of the Ankara Branch president was also Turkish. The Gaziantep Branch president has been a native Turk since the branch’s organization. Leadership and active membership appear too small in numbers and spread over too large a geographic area to justify the creation of a district for the seven non-administrative branches at present. Although foreign missionaries allow for greater local leadership training and mentoring, overreliance on foreign missionaries for administration and routine congregational functions can hamper the development of local self-sufficiency.

 

Missionary Service

Only a few Turkish members have ever served full-time missions. Emphasis on full-time missionary service among youth and young single adults will be important for leadership development and greater self-sufficiency in the Turkish missionary force.

 

Temple

Turkey pertains to the Kyiv Ukraine Temple district. Temple trips occur infrequently. The only branches that may have appreciable numbers of endowed members are Istanbul and Adana.

 

Comparative Growth

In the 2010s, the Church experienced greater membership and congregational growth in Turkey than in neighboring Middle Eastern nations. The Church has organized congregations and has some native members in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, each of which has fewer than 300 members. Activity rates appear similar or higher than for most of Southeastern Europe or the Middle East outside the Saudi Peninsula. Native leadership appears more developed than in Greece or Cyprus. The recent assignment of full-time missionaries to Turkey is unprecedented due to the sensitive nature of Latter-day Saint missionary activity among Muslims. The only other homogeneously Muslim country where the Church assigned young full-time missionaries in the past half century was Iran for a brief period in the 1970s. Turkey was the country with the highest percentage of Muslims (99.8%) to have had missionaries recently assigned.

 

Missionary-minded Christian groups view Turkey as one of the greatest frontiers for Christian outreach. Many of the provinces in Turkey appear to not have any Christian congregations. Christian groups have attempted to plant some congregations in these regions, but these efforts are challenged by the absence of any Christian organizations and customs that discourage proselytism. Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses have reported rapid membership and congregational growth in the past decade. For example, the number of regularly-proselytizing Witnesses and the number of Witness congregations has doubled in the past decade.

 

Future Prospects

The assignment of proselytizing, full-time missionaries in the past decade was a significant development for not only the Church in Turkey but the Church’s efforts to reach Muslim-majority nations. The proactive efforts of the Church to also organize a mission headquartered in Istanbul and expand missionary activity into previously unreached cities is highly commendable in an era where the Church has been very conservative in its outreach expansion efforts in neighboring nations. These efforts led to quick tangible results, such as increases in church attendance, membership totals, and the number of congregations. The high receptivity among Iranians in Turkey has been one of the most noteworthy developments which has resulted in Iranians outnumbering all other ethnic groups in multiple congregations, and the organization of the first-ever Iranian Persian-speaking branch in Turkey in the city of Isparta. The withdrawal of foreign, full-time missionaries has come at a most unfortunate time in which the Church has achieved significant headway in establishing a Latter-day Saint community that is not predominantly comprised of Western expatriates. The ongoing absence of foreign full-time missionaries will be an important period to test the durability of new converts and whether the Church can achieve greater self-sufficiency in its functioning with little-to-no outsourced leadership resources.



[1] “2018 Report on International Religious Freedom: Turkey.” U.S. Department of State. Accessed 17 February 2020. https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-report-on-international-religious-freedom/turkey/

[2] “Turkey,” Country Profiles, retrieved 20 March 2010. http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/contact-us/turkey

[3] Cannon, Mike. “Diversity in land, people and climate,” LDS Church News, 7 December 1991. http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/21327/Diversity-in-land-people-and-climate.html

[4] Martinich, Matt. “Beginning LDS Missionary Work in Turkey.” www.cumorah.com. 10 January 2013. https://cumorah.com/index.php?target=view_case_studies&story_id=296&cat_id=4

[5] Martinich, Matt. “The Central Eurasian Mission—Taking the Gospel to the Turkic Nations.” www.cumorah.com. 18 June 2015.

[6] Martinich, Matt. “The Central Eurasian Mission—Taking the Gospel to the Turkic Nations.” www.cumorah.com. 18 June 2015. https://cumorah.com/index.php?target=view_case_studies&story_id=443&cat_id=8

[7] Avant, Gerry. “‘No more strangers’ – Gospel in eastern Europe unites people of all backgrounds, cultures, tongues.” LDS Church News. 13 June 2014. https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2014-06-13/no-more-strangers-gospel-in-eastern-europe-unites-people-of-all-backgrounds-cultures-tongues-39885

[8] “LDS Church to create Central Eurasian Mission in July.” LDS Church News. 24 April 2015. https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2015-04-24/lds-church-to-create-central-eurasian-mission-in-july-34039

[9] “Church Statement on Volunteers in Turkey.” Church Newsroom. 27 July 2016. https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/church-statement-volunteers-turkey

[10] “Church reassigns all volunteers serving in Turkey after ‘heightened political tensions’.” 15 May 2018. The Church News. https://www.thechurchnews.com/global/2018-04-30/church-reassigns-all-volunteers-serving-in-turkey-after-heightened-political-tensions-11864

[11] Prescott, Marianne Holman. “LDS Church announces 2018 mission president assignments, mission adjustments.” LDS Church News. 1 February 2018. https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2018-02-01/lds-church-announces-2018-mission-president-assignments-mission-adjustments-13698

[12] “This Week on Social: Elder Renlund shares why his testimony of the Book of Mormon isn’t founded on artifacts.” The Church News. 27 September 2019. https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2019-09-27/this-week-on-social-elder-renlund-shares-why-his-testimony-of-the-book-of-mormon-isnt-founded-on-artifacts-161859

[13] Cannon, Mike. “Diversity in land, people and climate,” LDS Church News, 7 December 1991. http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/21327/Diversity-in-land-people-and-climate.html

[14] Martinich, Matt. “The Central Eurasian Mission—Taking the Gospel to the Turkic Nations.” www.cumorah.com. 18 June 2015.

[15] Avant, Gerry. “‘Saints on the frontier’ – Church leaders visit Eastern Europe.” LDS Church News. 30 June 2012. https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2012-06-30/saints-on-the-frontier-church-leaders-visit-eastern-europe-51071

[16] Weaver, Sarah Jane. “’We can find peace’: Elder Holland visits the Middle East.” LDS Church News. 4 December 2015. https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2015-12-04/we-can-find-peace-elder-holland-visits-the-middle-east-29412

[17] “First Presidency Letter.” www.churchofjesuschrist.org. 9 October 2017. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/bc/content/ldsorg/church/news/2017/10/09/15159_000_letter.pdf?lang=eng

[18] “Where We Work.” Latter-day Saint Charities. Accessed 17 February 2020. https://www.latterdaysaintcharities.org/where-we-work

[19] “Turkey,” Country Profiles, retrieved 20 March 2010. http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/contact-us/turkey

[20] “Church donates cash assistance to Turkey, China,” LDS Church News, 4 September 1999. http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/36314/Church-donates-cash-assistance—-to-Turkey-China.html

[21] Avant, Gerry. “‘No more strangers’ – Gospel in eastern Europe unites people of all backgrounds, cultures, tongues.” LDS Church News. 13 June 2014. https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2014-06-13/no-more-strangers-gospel-in-eastern-europe-unites-people-of-all-backgrounds-cultures-tongues-39885

[22] Martinich, Matt. “The Central Eurasian Mission—Taking the Gospel to the Turkic Nations.” www.cumorah.com. 18 June 2015.