Turkey and Greece have had a strained relationship for years, going back over 100 years. In 1922, Greek forces occupied the city of Izmir [Greek = Smyrna], but it was liberated by Turkish forces a century ago. Despite the neighbouring countries being members of NATO, peace has been fragile. Most disputes between the two originate over sea and air boundaries.

Turkish President Erdogan has been claiming that Greece has been positioning its military in demilitarized zones on some Greek Aegean islands. At the beginning of September, it is alleged that Turkish fighter jets had been targeted by Greece. During a reconnaissance flight, Erdogan claims that Greek air defence systems were locked onto Turkish jets in order to harass and threaten them. Erdogan’s advice to Greece was this: “do not forget Izmir”; a reminder of the Greek withdrawal from the city of Izmir [Smyrna] in 1922.

Turkey was once a bastion of Christianity. The first-century church spread the gospel throughout the land, and it was strong in this faith for about 1,000 years. The decline has been extreme, and today, 0% of the population are evangelical Christian. This directly correlates to the political climate, where today many are persecuted for opposing the current leadership.

Historically, Greece was the very first nation in Europe to be evangelised. Today, a high majority of Greeks would claim to be Orthodox Christians, however, of those, it is estimated that less than 3% regularly attend church. Only 0.4% of the population claims to be evangelical.

The political and financial uncertainties facing both Turkey and Greece no doubt give the citizens of both countries great concern. Much of what happens politically and financially is completely out of their hands. Please pray for the Christians of both countries to be vocal in their belief. Pray also for labourers to answer to call to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to these nations. Only in Christ can they find peace from the troubles of this world.