Country Profile

Early leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints preached in Turkey in 1850, recognizing present-day Ephesus as the New Testament home of the Christian congregation to which Paul, Timothy and John belonged. In May 1854, Latter-day Saints organized a congregation in Turkey. It consisted of British Latter-day Saint soldiers who, along with allied forces from Turkey and France, fought against Russia in the Crimean War.

In 1884, the Church established the Turkish Mission and sent Jacob Spori, born in the Swiss Alps, to preach in Turkey. Three months after arriving in Istanbul and teaching himself the Turkish language, Spori began preaching. While there, he also taught English, French and German. Mischa Markow, a Hungarian living in Istanbul, joined the Church in 1887. After his baptism, he returned to Hungary to preach. In September 1889, the first Armenian converts were baptized in Aintab. For many years Church growth in Turkey was slow but efforts during recent decades have led to the organization of several new congregations. The first of these was organized in Ankara in October 1979. In 1991 the Church sent an estimated 13,000 blankets, 80,000 pounds of clothing, and funds for medical supplies to aid Kurdish refugees in Turkey.

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Elena Nechiporova

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