World Watch Ranking: 23

How many Christians are there in Turkmenistan?

There are only around 68,000 Christians in Turkmenistan. The total population is just over 6 million, the majority of whom are Muslim.

What does persecution look like in Turkmenistan?

Persecution against Christians in this repressive Islamic state comes largely from the government and from society.

The government imposes many restrictions on church life. Unless their churches are registered, Christians are highly susceptible to police raids, threats, arrests and fines. Even Russian Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic churches may have their Sunday services monitored. The printing or importing of Christian materials is also restricted.

Believers who come from Muslim backgrounds experience intense pressure from families, friends and villagers to deny their faith. 

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Whilst government oppression is prevalent across the country, believers from Muslim backgrounds experience greater pressure in rural areas. 

What has changed compared to last year?

Despite dropping a place from last year’s position on the World Watch List, little has changed for Christians in Turkmenistan. It remains hugely challenging for those who follow Jesus, notably due to restrictions and surveillance from the state, and pressure on converts to recant.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Turkmenistan?

Open Doors strengthens the persecuted church in Central Asia by providing Christian literature, biblical and vocational training, and socio-economic development projects. We also provide immediate aid to Central Asian believers when they are jailed, excluded from families and communities, and deprived of livelihood and employment because of their faith in Christ.

How can you pray for Turkmenistan?

  • Pray for an easing of heavy restrictions on churches in Turkmenistan.
  • Pray for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of church leaders; it’s a role that can entail intense pressure.
  • Ask that believers who come to Christ from Muslim backgrounds will be guarded from harm, and that families, friends and villagers will be powerfully impacted by the transformation in their lives.
a prayer for Turkmenistan

Father God, thank You for the way in which You are working in and through the church in Turkmenistan. Continue this work and fill Your people with renewed joy at knowing and sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Protect Your people, help them stand strong and grant them wisdom and discernment to navigate restrictions and surveillance. Build Your church in Turkmenistan. Amen.

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President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov

Population of Christians
68,000 (1.1%)

Persecution Type
  • Dictatorial paranoia
  • Islamic oppression