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Central Asia

Persecution Type

Dictatorial paranoia



Persecution Level

Very High






Presidential Republic


President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov

Profile of Persecution

Violence 1.5/16.7
Church Life 15.7/16.7
National Life 13.3/16.7
Community Life 13.8/16.7
Family Life 11.3/16.7
Private Life 14.5/16.7

What does persecution look like in Turkmenistan? What is life like for Christians?

Persecution against Christians in this repressive 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.

What has changed in Turkmenistan?

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.

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 does Open Doors do to help Christians in Central Asia?

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.

Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed February 2020).

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.

Stories from Turkmenistan

May 11, 2021

Once a persecutor, now a Christ follower—former Muslim finds Jesus during Ramadan

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January 18, 2021

13 Christians murdered for following Jesus—every day

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September 20, 2020

Here’s how Muslims are coming to Christ—even during Islamic holy days

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