Turkey is a beautiful, wonderful and fascinating country.
The Apostle Paul wrote much of the New Testament either in Turkey (then “Asia Minor”), or to the churches located throughout that remarkable land. The Apostle John saw in Turkey the startling vision of the End Times that became the Book of Revelation. The country later became the seat of the Ottoman Islamic empire. Later it became a modern democracy, a NATO ally, a friend of Israel, and the original “Reformer” country. I have been there numerous times and shot part of the Inside The Revolution documentary film there last year.
But something is amiss. Just back from a family vacation abroad, I have come home to find the international news media filled with stories about escalating tensions between Turkey and Israel. Over the past 10 days or so:
Turkey has canceled a NATO military exercise because Israel was invited to participate
Turkey has aired a drama on state-run TV portraying an Israeli soldier walking up to a Palestinian child and barbarically shooting her point-blank
Turkey has made moves to draw closer to Iran and Syria, including choosing to engage in military exercises with Syria instead of Israel
Turkey has made moves to draw closer to Russia
These are troublesome developments on two levels.
First, they indicate that Turkey is not simply turning against Israel but doing so, in part, to curry favor with an emerging Russia-Iranian-Syrian alliance.
Second, these developments are consistent with Bible prophecies found in Ezekiel 38-39 which indicate that in the “last days” Turkey (identified in the prophecies as “Gomer” and part of “Beth Togarmah”) will join a Russian-Iranian alliance against Israel. While it remains too early to draw any conclusions on whether the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecies will come to pass in our lifetime, much less soon, it is not to early to be concerned about the pivot Turkey is making away from Israel and toward her enemies, and ours.
Please pray for the leaders of Turkey to resist the temptation so many other world leaders are having to turn against Israel. Please pray, too, for the gospel to spread throughout all of Turkey and that many in that country find the amazing love and grace and forgiveness found in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Finally, please pray for the leaders of Israel to have the wisdom to know how best to handle the current tensions with Turkey.