January 27, 2023 | View All Stories

Why Reaching the Turkic World is Strategic to Completing the Great Commission

Looking through the 10/40 Window, we discover the Turkic world. This region is strategic to completing Christ’s Great Commission because it contains 341 unreached people groups from multiple ethnicities with a total population of nearly 195 million.

Although the country of Turkey has the largest population of Turkic peoples, not all Turkic peoples come from Turkey. From Azerbaijanis to Uzbeks to Uyghurs, the ethnolinguistic diversity of Turkic peoples is substantial. The Turkic world extends from Skopje, Macedonia, in the west to Urumqi, China in the east. It is framed by the 35° and 45° north latitudes and includes almost all of Central Asia.

The region is significant for at least three reasons:

Strategically: the 35/45 Turkic world encompasses diverse cultures almost entirely Islamic and unreached with the Gospel.

Fewer than 1% of Turkic peoples are evangelical believers. In Revelation 7:9, the apostle John has a vision of every nation,tribe, people, and language, worshiping before the throne of God. If this is to be fulfilled, then all Turkic peoples must be invited to join the great multitude gathered there. ANM has fruitful Gospel partnerships with multiple native missionaries in the Turkic world in hopes of seeing the fulfillment of this day.

Historically: the Turkic world has played a significant role in the annals of the region.

The seven churches in Asia addressed in the first three chapters of Revelation were all located in today’s western Turkey. Much of the apostle Paul’s missionary journeys also occurred within what is today the 35/45 Turkic world. At its greatest extent in AD 1683, the Ottoman Empire ranged from the western Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea and from Budapest in Europe to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. After siding with Germany in World World 1 (1914-18), the Empire was abolished in 1922 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey.

Politically: modern Turkey is at the heart of the Organization of Turkic States (formerly the Turkic Council).

At their eighth summit in November 2021, the organization welcomed Turkmenistan as an observer, along with the full-member states of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. According to a November 2021 article on the Japanese news site Nikkei Asia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greeted the participating heads of state with an Ottoman military band. An imperial anthem with the lyrics “long live the Turkic state” was performed. The group’s six Turkic countries have a combined gross domestic product of more than $1 trillion and a total population of about 160 million.

For strategic, historical, and political reasons, the 35/45 Turkic world offers a panoramic view of one of the least reached areas of the world. Through our partnerships with native missionaries in the region, ANM is helping to plant churches and take the Gospel of salvation to the Turkic peoples.

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