Turkish tanks are grinding across the border into Syria with the intent to crush the Kurdish forces who have allied with the U.S. in its fight against ISIS. Viewed through a political lens, Turkey presents a murky image of a finicky ally of the U.S. but when viewed with the eyes of prophecy, Turkey’s role as a leader in the Gog and Magog pre-Messiah War comes into clear focus.
Turkey’s Troubled History of a Shaky Alliance with the West
Turkey beefed up its forces on the Syrian border with heavy armor and on Saturday announced its intention to launch a military incursion into Syria against the Kurds. Turkey wants to create a 20-mile buffer zone inside Syria along the 500-mile border and resettle up to two million of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it currently hosts. The U.S. would like to restrict the proposed buffer zone to nine miles.
The alliance between Turkey and the U.S. dates back to World War II when Turkey fought with the allies and was formalized when they joined the North American Treaty Alliance in 1952 Turkey relied on the U.S. for security guarantees against the former Soviet Union which they perceived as a threat. Relations began to deteriorate in 2003 when Turkey refused to allow the United States to use Incirlik Air Base for the invasion of Iraq. This downward trend worsened as the U.S. entered Syria to lead an international coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS). The American forces in the Syrian Civil War openly allied with the Kurdish YPG fighters and support them militarily, considering the group to be a key element in fighting ISIS. The YPG is targeted by Turkey for its alleged support for the PKK, a Kurdish far-left militant and political organization based in Turkey and Iraq. Turkey, NATO, and the U.S State Department have classified the PKK as a terrorist organization.
Another wrinkle in these relations came up after a coup attempt in July 2016 nearly succeeded in toppling the regime of Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkey demanded that the United States government extradite Fethullah Gülen, a cleric and Turkish national living in the U.S. who they claimed was behind the coup.
In a complete turnaround from the Cold War alliance, in 2019 Turkey signed a contract to buy Russia’s advanced S-400 anti-air missile system that had been designed specifically to counter U.S. air assets. The U.S. responded by canceling a deal in which Turkey was to receive 100 F-35 combat aircraft.
The planned incursion into Syria will put Turkey at odds with both the U.S. and Russia which backs the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. The U.S. currently has more than 1,000 troops stationed in Syria. Turkish and U.S forces began conducting combined ground patrols in September. Turkey has already launched two such military incursions into Syria since 2016 targeting both ISIS and YPG forces.
It is All About Religion
“Most Americans do not understand Turkey and prefer to stick their heads in the sand,” Professor Mordechai Kedar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, told Breaking Israel News, pointing out that Turkey’s role in the regional power structure cannot be underestimated as it hosts the largest military in NATO second only to the U.S.
“Ideologically they are absolutely an enemy of the U.S,” Kedar said succinctly. “Erdogan is part of the Muslim Brotherhood and, for him, America is the Big Satan. Practically, they play as if they are friends of the West. Despite being members of NATO, they have never and will never take any role, even indirectly, in any actions against another Muslim nation.”
Dr. Kedar noted that despite seeing the U.S.as an enemy and buying Russian military hardware, Turkey is no friend of Moscow.
“They side with Russia because Russia does not hesitate to twist their arms, threaten, or follow through with those threats,” Dr. Kedar said, explaining that the only motivation for Erdogan is religion.
“Erdogan sees himself as a leader in the Sunni Islamic world and his actions are focused or restoring the Ottoman hegemony.”
Erdogan and Gog and Magog
Erdogan’s Islamic aspirations may go even further, placing him at the head of the multinational armies of Gog and Magog. Modern-day Turkey was once the Ottoman Empire that ruled over much of the world for over six hundred years. But in Biblical terms, Turkey is known as the location of Mount Ararat, the resting place of Noah’s ark. That region was settled by the descendants of Gomer, the eldest son of Japheth. His descendants formed the nations of Meshech, Tubal, Beth-togarmah, and Gomer, all found in what is now modern Turkey. All of these nations were listed by Ezekiel as being part of the Gog and Magog alliance against Israel.
O mortal, turn your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him… Among them shall be Persia, Nubia, and Put, everyone with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its cohorts, Beth-togarmah [in] the remotest parts of the north and all its cohorts—the many peoples with you. Ezekiel 38:2-6
Rabbi Yekutiel Fish, an expert in Jewish mysticism who blogs in Hebrew under the title ‘Sod Chashmal,’ cited the Aramaic translation of the Bible written by Jonathan Ben Uziel, who studied under Hillel the Elder during the time of Roman-ruled Judea and his commentary on the verse in the Book of Numbers.
“Jonathan Ben Uziel explains that this prophecy describes how Gog will come out of Constantinople, which was the capital city of the Roman Empire but is now called Istanbul and is one of the major cities in Turkey,” Rabbi Fish explained. “He goes on to say that Italy will join forces with Gog and Magog. He goes on to say that after they join forces, the Moshiach (Messiah) will come and destroy whatever remains of the Turks.”
The prophecy states that boats of Constantinople will set out to attack the Attorai (אתוראי),” Rabbi Fish said. In Jewish commentaries, the Attorai are associated with the Assyrians who lived in a region that is now in modern Syria and Turkey.
“The Attorai may be the Kurds,” Rabbi Fish speculated.
Turkey is Changing the Rules of the Game
The overreaching political implications of the Turkish military incursion were described by Seth Frantzman, the Middle East affairs analyst at The Jerusalem Post. Frantzman described this recent move by Turkey as a game-changer with implications that spread much further than the Levant.
“Turkey’s innovative approach to international law re-writes UN charter so that countries now have a right to invade other countries and create “safe zones” as long as they can argue there may be “terrorists” present.
Turkey’s policy has ramifications for the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, and maybe the Balkans or Caucuses, where countries will say they need to do a “Turkey” and move into their neighbor’s territory to create a safe zone and send millions of settlers in to create new communities.
Ankara’s model has wide-reaching ramifications for a new world order.”
Pope: Erdogan is an Angel of Peace
Erdogan’s oblique approach to this “new world order” has created unexpected and inexplicable alliances. The Turkish leader supports the Palestinians and has called for a Muslim uprising to prevent Jerusalem from remaining in the hands of the Jews. Turkey also gives substantial practical support to Hamas. These efforts are understandable as they represent inter-Islamic cooperation. But the bilateral pledge of cooperation that was made at a meeting between Erdogan and Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2018 was entirely perplexing given the more than 1,500 year conflict between the Church and Islam.
At the meeting, the Pope presented Erdogan with a bronze “angel of peace” medallion.
“This is the angel of peace who strangles the demon of war,” the Pope told Erdogan as he gave him the medallion. “(It is) a symbol of a world based on peace and justice.”
This papal sentiment was also evident when Pope Francis presented Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas with a medallion at the Vatican in May 2015. At the time, the pope said that the “angel of peace” was “destroying the bad spirit of war” and praised Abbas for being an “angel of peace.”