Turkey is a state that teeters between secularism and Islam, yet whose population is almost 100% Muslim (if largely nominal now, especially in the cities).
Turkey has taken certain measures to strengthen its economy and democracy, and began accession membership talks with the EU in 2005. Yet hard issues remain: the ongoing struggle between secularism and Islamist influences; contention with Greece over Cyprus; and the ongoing, often violent struggle of Kurdish minorities in the south-east.
While Turkey has worked to develop an economy based on new services and modern industries - alongside traditional agriculture that is of great importance still, especially in rural areas - unemployment and foreign debt continue to exact a heavy toll, both on the economy as a whole and on the lives of individual Turks.
One of the world's most dangerous earthquake faults runs through north-western Turkey. Following the Izmit earthquake of 1999 in which 17,000 people died, Istanbul itself is believed by scientists to be one of the world's major cities at most risk of a further major quake, possibly in the near future.
Each year, thousands of tourists fly to Turkey's Mediterranean beaches, many unaware of the varieties, complexities, and sheer history of the country beyond the shore.
Christians in Turkey
The area which is now Turkey was once the heartland of the Christian Church. Churches in Ephesus, Colossae, Laodicea and elsewhere played a significant role in the Apostle Paul's ministry and the early Church. Several of the early Ecumenical Councils of the whole Church were held here.
Sadly, almost all of this was destroyed, bringing to mind perhaps the prophecies of the Book of Revelation, and serving as a warning to all churches.
Turkey has had a small, but continual and historic, Orthodox Christian presence and tradition.
Since 1960, when there were only a handful of known evangelical Christians, there has been a significant growth in numbers to several thousands of believers. Spread thinly around this huge country however, many still live out their faith in isolation, with many major cities and even provinces still without an established church or congregation.
While Turkey's secularist stance would not in theory give preference to Islam over Christianity, many believers must also contend with the low regard, or even outright stigma and hostility, that in reality the wider population reserves for the Christian faith.
Today, satellite television (including the Eurasian Christian Television project which WorldShare helped establish) and the internet are proving invaluable to introducing a new generation of Turks to the gospel.