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Deniz Carey, a Turkish pastor and SAT-7 UK Ambassador, recently sat down with us to share her powerful faith journey and the challenges and persecution she experienced in Türkiye for her beliefs.

As introductions to Jesus go, Deniz Carey’s may be one of the most dramatic. Soon after finishing university in her native Türkiye, Deniz was kidnapped for ransom and taken to a remote holiday village. She asked her captors for some reading material to fill the time – and they dug out a book about Christianity! There and then, in the midst of captivity, Deniz learnt about Jesus and was able to forgive her kidnappers.



Remarkably, this is just one of the many dramatic stories from Deniz’s journey of faith. Even in childhood, Deniz felt different, like something was missing. “I was born in Türkiye to a Muslim family,” Deniz shares. “As a little girl, I used to question my mother about how we relate to God. And some of the questions I asked, she couldn’t answer. I thought, I just cannot believe in a religion that can’t answer all my questions. I always had something deep in my spirit… A longing to know what life is.”

Her experience of being kidnapped was the first step towards finding the answers to her deepest longing. As Deniz read about Jesus’ death on the cross, something began to click. “I found those lines very powerful, and realised I need to be able to forgive these guys, otherwise I won’t be able to forgive,” she recalls. “I had no faith, but suddenly I was able to relate to my kidnappers with love.”


Deniz moved to the UK shortly afterwards to study for her master’s degree, where she met some Christians and was able to openly ask questions and learn more about Jesus. It was here that she became a Christian, almost 40 years ago. But when she returned to Türkiye, more challenges were in store that would test her newfound faith.

“When I went back to Türkiye, I joined a really small fellowship of around 20 people,” Deniz shares. “One of them owed some money to somebody, and they went to the police. The police came to their home, and then they found about 300 Turkish Bibles, so they arrested them.”

While they were being questioned, the police asked for the names of everyone who attended the church. Out of fear, the men named some of the attendees of the church – including Deniz. “So that’s how the police came to my house,” Deniz remembers. “I was living with my parents at the time, and in the evening they came and knocked on the door. They said, ‘Your daughter has been doing Christian propaganda.’”


The police took Deniz to the police station, where they kept her in a tiny basement cell with no light. “It was a very small cell, probably 1.5 metres square, with a very thin, kind of spongy mattress on the floor, and no light whatsoever. After a couple of days, I didn’t know whether it was daytime or nighttime. I could hear torture going on in other rooms.”

In one of the scariest situations she’d ever faced, Deniz felt the supernatural peace that can only come from Jesus.

“It was a painful time, but it was a time when I probably felt closest to God,” Deniz says. “There were metal doors, and under the metal doors from the corridor, a little bit of light seeped into the room. My comfort was looking underneath that door, into that light. And there was that little shadow that formed in that light that just looked like Jesus’ face. And I would just look at that shadow.”

As she looked into the image of Jesus’ face, Deniz remembered a worship song she had learnt in the UK. “In my mind, I would sing, ‘You laid aside your majesty, gave up everything for me…’ I had experienced a lot of fear when I had been kidnapped. But somehow in prison, there was no fear. I don’t know why, but there was no fear.”


In the 30 or so years since Deniz’s imprisonment, things have changed for Christians in Türkiye. “I think there’s more freedom in the church in Türkiye now,” she says. “A few years ago, I went to a fellowship in Istanbul, and the church is registered. Most of the churches are registered churches.”

“At this church, they were giving out copies of the Gospel – people were passing by and taking them, and the worship was really free. It was amazing! It’s not multiplying hugely, but the church is growing in Türkiye.”

Despite positive advances for churches, pressure on individual believers is growing. Christians in Türkiye are a tiny minority, numbering only around 169,000, or 0.2% of the population. New believers can face harassment from their family, friends and community when they come to faith, and religious affiliation is registered on national ID cards, which can make it easy for employers to discriminate against Christians.

As well as rising hostility, a recent attack on a church in Istanbul sent shockwaves through the country’s Christian community. On 28 January 2024, two gunmen entered the Santa Maria Catholic Church during morning mass and killed one man.

“There is still persecution going on,” Deniz shares. “I think socially, there’s a lot of persecution. You never know who is going to come and confront you.”


It is into this increasingly hostile context that SAT-7 TÜRK broadcasts a message of resilience and hope, affirming the presence of the Church in Türkiye and providing discipleship and teaching in the Turkish language.

Just as Deniz found strength from a small chink of light under a prison door, SAT-7 brings the light of Jesus to believers in the Middle East and North Africa in increasingly dark times.

“I love SAT-7 because it’s a light in the darkness, isn’t it?” says Deniz, who now lives and works in the UK and volunteers as an Ambassador for SAT-7 UK.

“There’s a lot of heaviness and darkness in this part of the world. But now, with technology, we can be in people’s homes with Jesus. It’s a great way of being present with God’s love and God’s light, where there’s so much darkness.”

SAT-7 brings joy to millions in the Middle East through faith-filled television and digital media. To learn more visit