The news this year has been dominated by revolutions across the Arab world. In this “Arab Spring,” mass protests erupted all over North Africa and the Middle East. But instead of producing the budding Western-style democracies hoped for by the United States and Europe, a host of countries are transforming into radical Islamic satellites of Iran.
While these sudden, raucous revolutions were rocking the Arab world, a quieter, slower revolution was unfolding in Turkey. There were no mass protests or brutal crackdowns; media agencies didn’t rush reporters in to give breaking news. The nation hardly seemed ripe for revolt: Turkey’s economy was growing; its gdp per capita was double Egypt’s; its government was already a functional democracy. Only a decade ago, Turkey was begging to become a member of the European Union. This predominantly Muslim nation hoped to be accepted by the Christian democracies of the West as one of them. It joined nato, allied with Israel and partnered with the U.S. in the war on terror.
But all that has changed. Turkey has experienced an Islamic takeover. The monumental consequences are shaking up the Middle East.
‘A Massive Shift’
On June 12, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Islamist prime minister from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (akp), was elected in a landslide for a third term. Since 2002, when he was first elected, the akp has successfully turned the secular, military-dominated republic toward its Islamic roots.
This historic change was demonstrated by the one form of protest Turkey did see. The once dominant General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces mounted a lawsuit to outlaw the akp for undermining Turkey’s secular foundations. The courts narrowly overthrew the case, and on July 29, four top generals resigned, attempting to throw the civilian government into a crisis. But there was hardly even a reaction. The akp government accepted the resignations and simply replaced the generals, signaling “a massive shift in the balance of power within the Turkish political system” (Stratfor, July 30).
Thus, the General Staff, which had mounted coups and outlawed parties to keep military power strong in the past, accepted defeat in the battle against the akp for government control. After being dominated by its secularist military for over 50 years, Turkey finally fell to the control of a civilian political party—one populated by proud, card-carrying Islamists.
The resignations were far quieter than the raging mobs of Egyptians in Tahrir Square, but the effect was just as monumental: Another longtime U.S. and Israeli ally, a nation key to stability in the Middle East, succumbed to an Islamic takeover.
Behold the Change
Since these events, Turkey’s transformation has been even more dramatic. Just look at its new foreign policy.
Ever since it became the first Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel in 1949, Turkey has had a strong relationship with the Jewish state. If Egypt and its 1979 peace treaty with Israel was the foundation for Middle East stability and Israel’s defense, Turkey’s alliance was the capstone. But all of that has been turned upside down by Erdoğan and the akp.
Turkey has abandoned this alliance. The split began to appear last year when it challenged Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip—a blockade the UN declared legal this September—by sending an “aid flotilla” to Gaza. When Israel took action to uphold its blockade, several Turks were killed. In response to Israel’s refusal to apologize for those deaths, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and suspended its military ties with Israel on September 2. Still insisting that the blockade was illegal, Erdoğan then reportedly said Turkey would send three frigates to the Mediterranean to escort any aid ships to Gaza in future, suggesting further provocations.
This move dangerously escalates tensions between the two nations. Before, Turkey’s weapon was just fiery rhetoric. Now it is deploying military vessels.
The Middle East is quickly moving toward war, and Israel’s existence is at stake!
Why Turkey Is Different
But just as Turkey’s revolution differed from the Arab countries, its result will also be different. Turkey is no Egypt or Libya. It is a rich nation with the power to challenge Iran, the kingpin of the region and the seat of radical Islamic power.
This can be seen in its vocal criticism of Syria, Iran’s closest ally in the area. Turkey even gave Syrian President Bashar al-Assad an ultimatum to implement long-promised political reforms and stop suppressing protesters—or else face a Turkish intervention. In September, Erdoğan undertook a tour of Muslim nations in a bid to strengthen Turkey’s standing in the Arab world.
Why the sudden transformation from a key ally to the U.S. and Israel into a hostile enemy? Where is this power struggle leading? Only biblical prophecy can give the answers.
Turkey is identified in prophecy as Edom (next article). The Bible foretold that Turkey would eventually betray Israel, and that is beginning to be fulfilled right now. This will be, in part, the result of the quiet revolution that has occurred in Turkey over the last decade. However, while Ankara’s recent actions against Israel reveal where its heart lies, biblical prophecy also suggests that the form of Turkey’s alliance with Israel will remain, though not the substance. This will set Israel up for the betrayal prophesied in the biblical book of Obadiah.
Psalm 83 foretells that Turkey will join an alliance to destroy the tiny nation of Judah (modern Israel) and the end-time Israelite birthright nations (the U.S. and Britain). (More information on this can be found in our free booklet The King of the South.) Psalm 83 shows that Turkey’s coming alliance will not be with radical Iran or Egypt; it will be with Germany!