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04/02/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – For the first time in 25 years, President Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has lost control over Turkey’s capital of Ankara in local elections, as well as Istanbul. The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) narrowly won control of these two cities, and also retained control over Turkey’s third largest city, Izmir. Erdogan’s party is challenging the results of the election.

For the President to lose in the nation’s three biggest cities is a significant moment. These local elections are widely considered a referendum on President Erdogan’s rule and his AKP party’s Islamist policies. The winning CHP is a Kemalist party whose creator was also the founder of modern, secular Turkey.

Christians are regularly caught between the secularism and Islamism elements of Turkish society. On the one hand, Erdogan’s Islamism has caused rifts in Turkey’s social fabric which isolates religious minorities. On the other hand, Turkey’s secularism suppresses the expression of religious practice while affirming that all Turks are still Muslims. As the pendulum between the two extremes continues to swing, Turkey’s Christians must be kept in prayer as they navigate these contradictory waters.

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