With all eyes on Israel’s immediate foes, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and its proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria, one nation that could present an even bigger challenge is Turkey.
Turkey’s military is one of the largest in the region, on par with both Egypt and Iran, and is considered one of the top 15 militaries in the world, according to most military magazines.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, delivered a speech over the weekend at an anti-Israel rally in which he told attendees that Israel was responsible for war crimes and framed Hamas as “freedom fighters.”
He then went further to suggest that Turkey may need to intervene in Gaza, saying Turkey can “come at any night unexpectedly,” to an ecstatic reception from the hundreds of thousands of attendees who chanted in response: ‘Turkish military to Gaza.’
Some experts warn that Erdogan is trying to appear as the champion of Islam, much like Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989. As such, Turkey has emerged as one of the primary antagonists of Israel in the Middle East over the past few decades.
Historically, Turkey has been an ally of Israel and the U.S., and one of the more “moderate” Muslim nations in the world, with a Western-style democracy. Both of those concepts appear to have been thrown to the wind in recent years.
Turkey’s friendlier posture towards Israel began to shift in the late 1990s and early 2000s. At this time, Islamic factions in Turkey gained a firmer foothold in Turkish politics, eventually leading to the election of now-President Erdogan to the Prime Minister’s office in 2002.
Erdogan is a fundamentalist Sunni Muslim through and through. He disdains democracy. One of his primary goals is to re-establish Turkey as the leader of a revived Ottoman Islamic Empire. Since coming to power, Erdogan has systematically silenced, jailed, or executed most of his opponents in the military, media, business sector, and academia.
The rise of Turkey as a global power and its hostility towards Israel aligns with certain key Bible prophecies related to what will take place in the Middle East before the return of Jesus. In Ezekiel 38-39, Ezekiel specifically predicted that Turkey would become one of the primary geopolitical enemies of Israel in the last days, along with Russia and Iran.
There have been several meetings of the leaders of Russia, Iran, and Turkey over the past few years as they draw closer into an alliance. While Turkey is still part of NATO, it has all but given up its push to become part of the European Union after decades of failure to be accepted.
If Turkey were to become involved in a conflict with Israel, it would put the United States and NATO in a difficult position of supporting Israel while one of its own members attacks the state.
Erdogan knows that going after Israel gets him votes and makes him popular in the Muslim world. With the recent election showing Erdogan has been slowly losing support, his battle cries are a winning strategy to regain local support that has been unhappy with his economic performance.
Naturally, the speech went down poorly with Israeli officials, who quickly responded by withdrawing diplomatic staff from Turkey.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in a statement: “Given the grave statements coming from Turkey, I have ordered the return of diplomatic representatives there to conduct a re-evaluation of the relations between Israel and Turkey.”
While Erdogan may be all words at this point, the expected shift of world opinion against Israel, especially in the Muslim world, will continue to gain momentum. If Israel is not able to change the dynamics in Gaza with Hamas quickly, Erdogan may find himself pressured, along with Iran and Russia, forming a coalition to stop Israel.
Echoing Turkey’s remarks, Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi also suggested Sunday night that Iran may be forced to take action saying Israel had ‘crossed the red lines’ with its bombardment of Gaza which ‘may force everyone to take action’.
Ezekiel warns that this invading coalition, referred to as the Gog/Magog Coalition, is brought into the region with a ‘hook in the jaw,’ implying that there are some underlying circumstances that will force them into the region, almost against their will.
Much of the speculation over the years has been that it would be Israeli oil discoveries or natural gas that would lure them, or even a retaliatory strike after Israel takes out Iran’s nuclear program. The Gaza invasion and worldwide opposition could soon provide that hook that forces this coalition to march.
Just as Ezekiel warned us 2,600 years ago.
The Future War Prophecies book and DVD locates the battlefields, identifies the participants, explains the motives, provides the details and explores the outcomes of these coming world changing conflicts that are detailed in the Bible. Available here.