Displaying items by tag: Turkey
Turkey’s president has now confirmed publicly that an American pastor jailed for the past twelve months is being held as a political hostage. In a speech at his presidential palace, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan openly called on the United States to exchange pastor Andrew Brunson for Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish citizen living in exile in the US since 1999 who is accused of masterminding last year’s failed coup via his international network of followers.
Send forth Your light and Your truth!
How often have we proclaimed this word of the Lord over our land – and that God has answered! At the German Prayer Conference in Berlin, from September 1 to 3 , weexperienced the revelation of God’s light and truth in aspecial way! This helped us to recognise the influence of thespirit of the age on our thinking and to be released from it.
True repentance begins with a change in our thoughts(“metanoia” in Greek). The word of God is our guide andhelp: “We demolish arguments and every pretension thatsets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we takecaptive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”(2 Corinthians 10:5).
Pray: Let us continue to pray in faith for our land: “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guideme, let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.” (Psalm 43:3). -RS
Universities and centres of further education
In the coming months after the prayer conference we wantto concentrate on how we can make a change in our way ofthinking in our society. The Holy Spirit wants to bring abouttransformation in our society and culture. God wants topermeate our education system to break the power ofungodly ideologies and thought structures. Our thinking isalways subject to the influence of the “spirit of the age”.
Knowledge is never neutral and unbiased, but formedaccording to prevailing and generally accepted beliefs.Nowhere are the thoughts and actions within eachgeneration so strongly moulded and influenced as withinour universities and other centres of further education.
Many of the 2.8 million students today will one day be ourleaders and will in many ways influence all areas of sociallife: justice, business, philosophy, education, theology,literature and politics. For too long the thinking of the ’68movement has been influencing all of these areas. The Spiritof God wants to permeate the centres of thoughtformationin our land once again. In past centuries God has inspiredmany in our universities to take his kingdom into the world.
God is the source of ideas and solutions to all questions inlife. He has all the help and answers that our land sourgently needs. But we also need creative thinkers with aservant’s heart who together with the Holy Spirit candevelop innovative ideas and influence thought withinGermany for the good of our land. God is the one who givespeople the gifts, talents and grace to be a blessing to theworld. Germany has often been known as the “land of poetsand thinkers” and is very open to new ways and ideas.
May the Holy Spirit come into our universities and centresof education to renew our way of thinking and bring forthnew life in our land.
Pray:For a transformation in the ways of thinking in oursociety in a move to draw us closer to God.(2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
Pray: For a movement of the Holy Spirit in our universitiesand other centres of thought formation. (Acts 4:29-31)
Pray: That creative thinkers will be inspired by the Holy Spiritto find answers and solutions for the needs of our land.(Daniel 1:7,20; Proverbs 3:5-6)-AS
Formation of a new federal government
The German Federal Parliament was elected four years agoon September 22 , 2013, but the election of the federalchancellor did not take place until December 19 , 2013.There is no deadline for this election in the Germanconstitution. Protracted considerations as to which partiesshould form a coalition and the difficulties in thenegotiations towards a coalition agreement delayed theformation of a new government. This can definitely happenagain if one believes the opinion polls. As this prayer letterwas being written, the result of the new elections onSeptember 24 was not yet known. Angela Merkel recentlystated regarding the election: “Until Sunday evening I canstill do something, then I am constrained to remain passive
Afterwards we just have to wait and see. It is like waiting for your school report card.” But what happens next? Many questions must be answered in Berlin: which parties areable to form a coalition? What positions (ministers, state secretaries...) does each party get? Who are standing for these positions, which political wings within the parties will be involved, which federal state interests must be considered? How many women should be included? Who will be vice-chancellor? All these decisions will determinethe direction of our country for the next four years.
Pray:That God lifts up and brings down people during theprocess of forming a coalition and the new Germanfederal government. (Luke 1:51-52)
Pray: That trustworthy, visionary and God-fearingparliamentarians will fill the important positions ingovernment (in the foreign ministry, for example).(Proverbs 8:15-17)
Pray: For the coalition agreement; that the needs of ourpeople and the role of our country with regard toEurope, Israel and the world will be Spirit-led andguide us into the future to the praise of God’s Name.(Romans 15:8-12) -JB
Family-related policies in Germany have been subject tofundamental changes for some years as the meaning and role of marriage, family and parenthood have beenredefined without regard to traditional Biblical values.
Marriage has lost its exclusive status as a covenant betweena man and a woman by the introduction of “marriage forall”. The term “family” has already for a long time not beenregarded as exclusively reserved for “a father, a mother andtheir child(ren)” in accordance with God’s order in creation.
Parenthood was also redefined by the decision of theconstitutional court (2013) to the effect that legalparenthood and fatherhood can also exist without abiological or traditional family relationship to the child. Atthe same time the state took over more and more duties toeducate and raise children disregarding traditional familyresponsibilities.
Under new buzz-words and catch phrases such as “marriageand career compatibility”, “partnership-life” (replacing“family-life”), “well-being and equal-opportunities forchildren”, etc., the number of children under 3 years of agein some form of state care country-wide rose from 14% in2006 to 33% in 2015, and the number of mothers of 2 to 3year olds in a gainful occupation rose from 42% to 58% inthe same period. The place of the family in the traditionalBiblical sense as the very original core element of oursociety has in the past years been eroded step by step anddeprived of any significance. Let us pray that we will see amajor change in family-oriented policies as the next federalgovernment in Germany is built, with completely newappointments in the ministry for families, women, seniorsand young people!
Pray:For God-fearing personnel to be appointed in the newministry for families. (Psalm 111:10)
Pray: For a complete turn-around in the family-related policies in our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Pray: That for the sake of their children mothers will not want to work and will receive support from the state. (Psalm 127:3)-TF
The ten year programme of events within the Lutheran Church which started in September 2008 (“Luther-Dekade”in German) and the final year of commemoration of theReformation come to an end on October 31 , 2017.
Countless events, exhibitions and writings will have beendedicated to this anniversary, half of the city of Wittenbergrenovated, and Luther will have been disputed, pulledapart, held in somewhat high esteem and celebrated. Bythe end the numbers of visitors at church conferences andworld exhibitions will remain well under expectations andthe positive outcome that was anxiously awaited will feelmore like a depressive hangover. What will remain from theanniversary of the Reformation?
As the official activity in the past years comes to an end, thefaith for a new reformation has grown. Under the title “NewReformation” thousands of young Christians met in June inPrague and prayed in expectation for a reformation thatdoes not divide us but rather unites us in Jesus Christ andbrings millions back to Him. We believe that we stand onthe threshold of a new reformation that will once againbind the church to the Word of God, as first happened 500years ago, and from there bring a change in our society andthroughout Europe. And that the cloud of witnesses fromthe reformers and generations before us will stand with usbefore the throne of God and pray that the spiritualinheritance of the church in Germany will now be restored.
Pray: That on this 500 anniversary the doors will be openedfor a new reformation in Germany. (Psalm 24)
Pray: Lord, take back the lordship over your church of the Reformation! (Matthew 16:16-19)
Pray: For visible unity between the churches, for healing and reconciliation. (John 17:20-23) -KH
The German-Israeli Parliamentary Group
The basic function of parliamentary groups in the GermanFederal Parliament is to maintain mutual contacts withother national parliaments in the world. In the newlegislature period, the German-Israeli Parliamentary Group,as all the groups, will be rebuilt from the newly electedmembers of parliament. In the last legislature period therewere about 50 members in the group, representing allparties within the parliament. Membership is voluntary andthe parliamentarians are united by their interest in Israel.
They deal with general aspects of German-Israeli relations,work to provide clarification on Israeli issues to parliamentand the media, and are important contacts for the Jewishcommunity in Germany. As a counterpart in the IsraeliKnesset there is an Israeli-German Friendship Group ofIsraeli parliamentarians.
The work of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Group hasparticularly caught the attention of the general public, notleast because of the dedication of the chairman Volker Beckof the Greens Party, who will no longer sit in the newGerman parliament. Let us now pray for a Spirit-ledcomposition of parliamentarians in the next German-IsraeliParliamentary Group.
Pray:Thanks for the friendly connections between theGerman and Israeli parliaments. (Psalm 133:1)
Pray: That the Spirit of God will call dedicated people intothis German-Israeli Parliamentary Group and that theywill be a true voice for German-Israeli friendship.
Pray: For the new chairman to be influential and dedicated. (Psalm 119:30) -RS
Keep praying: Relationship between Germany and Turkey
The relationship between Germany and Turkey gets worse day by day. Increasingly German citizens are findingthemselves under interrogation, arrest and detention. Thearbitrary arrests have led to travel warnings. The Germangovernment now takes the position in the European Union that it would be right and proper to break off membershipnegotiations with Turkey. This however must be a majoritydecision. At this time there is no majority. The negativeinfluence of the Turkish Islamic Institute for Religion whichis controlled from Turkey comes more and more into thepicture. See also: “The Turkish Islamic Institute for Religion (Ditib)” in the prayer letter from November 2016.
Pray:For the re-evaluation of the relationship betweenGermany and Turkey in accordance with God’s plans and purposes. (Proverbs 2:6) -RS
Dates for your diary
01.10 International Day of Prayer for the Peace ofJerusalem (Robert Stearns - Eagles Wings).
31.10 Reformation Day in Germany.
God’s blessings from Rosemarie Stresemann and Team
Many have been praying that God would give dreams of Himself to Turkish Muslims even while they are persecuting Christians. We can praise God that He is winning hearts in hard places: Turkish Muslims are having Christian dreams, visions and healings. Pray for God to continue to draw Muslims to Himself as they seek forgiveness during Hajj (which ends on 1 September), and to speak to them in the weeks following as they reflect on their pilgrimage. See:
President Erdogan labelled mainstream German political parties and their leaders - including Mrs Merkel - ‘enemies of Turkey’, and called on Turks not to vote for them in Germany’s elections on 24 September. This raised hackles on the German side; Mrs Merkel called it ‘meddling’ in German elections, saying that voters had the right to vote freely, regardless of background. SPD leader Martin Schulz said Erdogan ‘had lost any sense of proportion.’ Meanwhile, AfD leader Frauke Petry faces a perjury fight. Ms Petry moved the AfD to the right after it was founded as an anti-euro movement. In 2016, amid the influx of migrants and refugees into Germany, she suggested that police should ‘if necessary’ shoot at migrants seeking to enter illegally. Now there are calls for her to lose her immunity from prosecution over allegations of perjury (she is suspected of making false statements under oath before a parliamentary committee in November 2015). AfD hopes to enter Berlin’s parliament in September’s election. See also http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40961113
God is advancing His Kingdom in Turkey, despite last year’s attempted coup and the president’s cruel retribution on his people. Christian media are reporting more and more Turks having vivid dreams of Jesus. Christian prayer groups are springing up, people watch Christ preached on the Internet and respond. New Christians are evangelising openly to friends on the Internet. May God give protection, wisdom and boldness to the new converts living in dangerous areas.
The march from Ankara to Istanbul, from 15 June to 9 July, is a response to spreading injustice and judicial system abuse by President Erdogan’s ruling party (AKP) after last year’s coup. The 450km march and rally by the opposition party CHP offered another way of engaging in politics, not filled with divisive and hate-filled rhetoric (the default mode of AKP). Not once did Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the CHP leader, and his supporters respond negatively to pro-government followers targeting them along the route. Instead, they responded with applause. Mr Kilicdaroglu said they had gathered to break down the ‘walls of fear’ erected by the ruling party.
A ransom paid by Qatar to Iranian Al Qaeda-linked terrorists to secure the release of members of Qatar’s royal family being held hostage is believed to have prompted Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to sever ties with the tiny but resource-rich emirate, accusing Doha of ‘funding terrorists’. Qatar is home to 10,000 American troops and a major US military base. On 8 June the US and Qatari navies began manoeuvres, just hours after the USA agreed a major warplane sale to the Gulf kingdom, underscoring a military alliance despite Donald Trump's assertion that Doha supports ‘extremism’. It is not clear when the joint naval exercise was arranged. Washington is sending conflicting signals about its position on the diplomatic crisis. Trump expressed support for the Saudi-led allegations against Qatar, but Pentagon and State Department officials have scrambled to reassure the emirate of support and continued sales of F-15 fighters. Meanwhile Turkey has deployed soldiers and military hardware to Qatar, and will train Qatari police. See
Half of Turkey is celebrating a win in a national referendum, the rest demand a recount. President Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory and sweeping new powers as head of government, head of state and head of the ruling party. He will have power to appoint cabinet ministers, propose budgets, appoint judicial bodies and issue decrees without safe counterweight mechanisms that exist in democratic countries such as the USA. The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) cited voting irregularities, including using unstamped ballot papers. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said the referendum had an ‘unlevel playing field’, as the ‘Yes’ campaign had unlimited media advertising, while the ‘No’ campaign was allowed virtually none. There was misuse of state resources by the ‘Yes’ campaign organisers, and obstruction of ‘No’ campaign events. Big cities did not back Erdogan or his changes. The win has caused both celebrations and protests across the country. See also:
In a referendum on 16 April, Turks will vote yes or no to constitutional amendments to shift Turkey from a system where executive powers lie with the prime minister and are checked by parliament to one giving unprecedented powers to the president. Many fear this will lead to one-person rule, with power to suspend parliament and appoint all ministers and high-ranking officials. Turkish Christians are concerned about rising nationalism, and also the random arrests since last summer’s coup attempt. American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been in detention since October, still has no clear outline of the charges against him, although the prime minister has promised to speed up his court case. He and his family have been in Turkey for over twenty years, leading a church in Izmir. See:
Erdoğan’s Proposal for an Empowered Presidency
Turks will vote April 16 in a referendum on proposed constitutional amendments that would greatly enhance the power of the presidency and reinforce Turkey’s democratic decline.
“On April 16, the Turkish people will vote on a package of constitutional amendments passed by Turkey’s Parliament on January 21, 2017, that greatly expands the powers of the presidency.
If the package passes the nationwide referendum, it will broaden and deepen the de jure powers of the presidency, giving it authority over all executive branch institutions, including the military. It would give the president the power to appoint key senior-level judges and other judicial officials without parliamentary—or any other—review. It would abolish the post of prime minister, with the president assuming the powers of that office. And it would allow, under certain circumstances, the president to serve three terms totaling just short of 15 years.
In short, Turkey’s long-standing parliamentary political system would be transformed into something more appropriately called a presidential system, in which an “executive presidency”1 amasses unprecedented power in the hands of one man. The referendum will take place amid the ongoing erosion of Turkish democratic institutions, freedom of speech, and political rights. Moreover, the referendum campaign and the vote itself will be held under some of the least democratic circumstances imaginable—namely, emergency rule.
The following are among the other significant features of the proposed new presidential system that will be explored in the main body of this report:
On paper, the new structure would create a presidency with vast powers, but—depending particularly on whether the president’s party controls Parliament—it would be somewhat less powerful than the unfettered, one-man dictatorship widely expected by Erdoğan’s critics and possibly craved by Erdoğan himself.
Voters will go to the polls knowing that a “yes” vote will significantly increase the president’s already considerable power, fortify Turkey’s growing reputation for authoritarianism, and further alienate Turkey from its NATO allies.”
Alan Makovsky is a Senior Fellow on the National Security and International Policy team at the Center for American Progress.
Please keep the beautiful land of Turkey and her people in prayer as they go to the voting booth on April 16 that a just and good government will be the result that upholds religious freedom. Pray that the nation will be kept from religious and political tyranny and that many Turks will be able to have the freedom to come to faith in Jesus Christ. May the Gospel speed on, spreading everywhere as never before in this largely unreached nation!