Israel recently signed a controversial reconciliation deal with Turkey after six years of disharmony between the nations. While the recent deal can be attributed to a number of modern political considerations, an alliance between Israel and Turkey can clearly be understood to be bolstered by its Biblical roots. More importantly, it has prophetic implications that will help bring the Messiah.
The agreement, signed in June, will ally Turkey in Israel’s fight against mutual terrorist enemies, such as the Islamic State (ISIS). Additionally, Turkey will stop blocking Israeli interests in international organizations such as NATO and the UN.
Israel, on the other hand, will permit Turkey to transfer humanitarian and material aid to the Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas, through Israel’s Ashdod harbor. Israel will also transfer $21 million to a Turkish fund as restitution payment to the families of ten Turkish nationals killed in the 2009 Turkish flotilla to Gaza led by the MV Mava Marmara, a decision that has been much vilified in the political arena.
Though the modern Republic of Turkey, established in 1923, is not mentioned in the Bible, that area of the Middle East is integrally connected to the very roots of Judaism. Mount Ararat in Turkey is the site where the Bible records Noah’s ark came to rest.
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. Genesis 8:4
Turkey is the source of the Jewish people. Though Abraham’s birthplace is a matter of some controversy, with several locations claimed as the actual site, the Turkish city of Sanliurfa is accepted as the Biblical city of Haran where Abraham lived until his father Terah died.
And Terah took Avram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Avram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. Genesis 11:31
After leaving Haran and arriving in Israel, the connection remained strong via the matriarchs, who all came from Haran. The forefathers had a complicated love-hate relationship with their relatives in Haran. Abraham orders his servant to bring back a bride from Haran, but admonishes him that under no circumstances should Isaac go there.
The precedent for a pact with Turkey was set by Jacob and Laban. Jacob fled to Padan Aram, a region now identified as the border between Syria and Turkey. When he and Laban parted ways, they made a covenant ensuring they remain allies, while at the same time requiring firm borders between them.
Hashem watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another…I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. Genesis 31:49-52
This Biblical connection between the two nations continued in the prophets. Japheth, the son of Noah, was the father of Meshech (Genesis 10:2), a nation Josephus identified as occupying an area identified now as modern Turkey. Meshech is named in Ezekiel as one of the principalities of Gog.
Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold I am against thee O Gog chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; Ezekiel 38:3
Assyria plays a large role in the Bible and Assyrians still live in Turkey today as a Christian minority. Isaiah’s messianic prophecy predicts a blessed alliance between Israel, Egypt, and Assyria.
Breaking Israel News spoke to Dr. Efrat Aviv, a specialist in Turkey for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. When asked if it was relevant to consider the Biblical basis when relating to Turkey in modern diplomacy, surprisingly, she affirmed that it was.
“In the Bible, in the days of King David and Solomon, we read about Israel conquering areas that are now Turkey. When I visit Turkey, it amazes me that the average Turkish citizen still suspects Israel wants to retake this Biblical territory.”
Though Turkey may not be the nation of Gog that initiates the war that ushers in the Messianic era, there are sources that identify it as playing an important role in that process. In December, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, the Vice-President of the Rabbinical Court, related the arrival of the Messiah to the conflict between Turkey and Russia.
“We have received a direct teaching, passed down from one to another, from the Gaon of Vilna, (the foremost Torah scholar of the 18th century) that when Russia goes and conquers Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, it is time to quickly put on your Shabbat clothes and expect the Messiah,” the rabbi said.
The Kloisenberger Rebbe, a 20th century Hasidic rabbi, also predicted the role of Turkey’s conflict with Russia as part of the Messianic process. He wrote, “When you see the Russian horse in Constantinople, a city in Turkey, you should know Moshiach (Messiah) is about to arrive.”
Dr. Aviv accepted the prophecy. “There may very well be basis for this prophecy. The situation we have today, where a total war can break out at any moment between Russia and Turkey, no one could have anticipated this. As an academic, I am very interested in the situation the prophecy describes. As a religious Jew, this reinforces my belief in prophecy.”