Erdoğan Wins Turkish Elections
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won Turkey’s runoff presidential elections on Sunday. Turkey’s Supreme Election Council gave Erdoğan 52.1 percent of the vote. His opponent, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, won 47.9 percent. Erdoğan, who has been in power since 2003, now has another five years to shape Turkey to his liking.
The runoff elections followed the inconclusive elections on May 14.
Where does this leave Turkey? In 1923, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the Republic of Turkey as a secular, Western-oriented democracy. Since coming into office, Erdoğan has undone much of Atatürk’s legacy. He has brought Islam back to Turkey’s public life, concentrated power in himself, and aligned with autocratic powers like Russia and Iran. Most concerning for the West, Turkey under Erdoğan has sponsored Islamic terrorist groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Turkish diplomacy under Erdoğan is best characterized as flip-flopping. Turkey has sold weapons to Ukraine while boosting trade with Russia. It has sponsored Hamas while being in the minority of Muslim states in the Middle East to recognize Israel. It simultaneously belongs to the America-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization and has partial membership in the China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
We expect Turkey to continue down this path. But with his power consolidated for another five years, we also expect Erdoğan to be bolder in his course.
Why is Turkey important? Turkey controls some of the most strategic territory on the planet. It is the land bridge that connects Europe to Asia. The Bosporus and Dardanelles control Russia’s access to the Mediterranean. The headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers start in Turkey.
These complicated political and geographical situations mean the world’s major powers try to maintain good relations whether they like Erdoğan or not. This gives him a lot of leverage. It also means he can afford to be unpredictable and duplicitous.
A prophecy in Psalm 83:1-8 mentions an alliance of various Middle Eastern peoples forming so “that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (verse 4). Such an alliance has never before occurred in history; this is a prophecy for today. This alliance specifically includes “Edom,” the ancestors of the modern Turks. A related prophecy in Obadiah says the Turks will be guilty of a betrayal against the nations of Israel (which includes more than the Jews in the Middle East).
Erdoğan has already demonstrated his diplomatic slipperiness. But Bible prophecy states that the biggest flip-flop from Turkey is yet to come. To learn more, read “Turkey: An Act of Revenge!”