Geopolitics, Biblical prophecy and Muslim prophecy and how they intersect in these last days.
Biblical prophecy reveals in Daniel 8 that in the last days Turkey (Sunni) will defeat Iran (Shia) and become the dominant Muslim force but not for long. It will be broken up into four kingdoms and out of one of them the little horn (Antichrist) will come. Only a great power or coalition of nations will be able to break up what would effectively be a revived Ottoman Empire.
“Then the goat (Turkey) became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land (Israel).” Daniel 8:8-9
A critical shift is taking place in the Middle East. The Ballistic Missile Program of Iran (Ram) is significant considering its influence in Lebanon with Hezbollah and in Iraq and Syria as well as Hamas, but even more significant is the Turkey Caliphate (Goat) , a revised Ottoman Empire is rising. The Ottoman Empire collapsed in 1923 after 600 years ruling an amazing amount of territory.
Covid 19 Pandemic is providing an opportunity for leaders such as Erdogan. The combination of people’s disillusionment with the Saudi regime as well as Bin Salman’s ambivalence towards Sunni radicalism has led Erdogan to pursue a role as the new political leader of Sunni Islam.
We can see Erdogan’s ambition in a number of actions that he has pursued in the past couple months. The first and most obvious is the reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. This has obvious implications. For centuries, Muslim armies made the capture of Constantinople, the center of the Christian east, their chief goal. Various Muslim Hadiths (sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad) predicted the submission of the Byzantine capital to Islam. When the Ottomans finally captured the city on May 29, 1453 and turned the Byzantine cathedral of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, it spelled the end of Christian political power in the Middle East and the beginning of the Ottoman Empire as the center of Sunni Islam. Ataturk converted the mosque into a museum in 1935, uncovering some of the Arabic calligraphy to reveal the centuries-old Christian icons. This move, while imperfect, signalled that Turkey was no longer an Islamic state and that it would pursue secularization.
For years now, Erdogan has been undoing Ataturk’s vision. He has cracked down on the sale of alcohol, halted the teaching of the theory of evolution, and is even suspected of aiding Sunni Jihadist groups in Syria. The reconversion of Hagia Sophia serves as a symbolic reminder that in Turkey Islam reigns supreme and that, while Saudi Arabia shrinks away from its Wahabbist legacy, Sunnis who long for a return to a more muscular Islam can turn to Istanbul instead.
The second ominous sign of Turkey’s ambition is the recent onslaught of anti-Armenian sentiments made by pro-Erdogan figures in Lebanon. Lebanon, which is dominated by the Shia Hezbollah (funded and controlled by Iran), has faced increased criticism by Lebanese citizens for its corruption. Massive protests occurred just last year over endemic political corruption and economic stagnation in the country. This is where Erdogan sees his opening. The Sunni community of Lebanon, which doesn’t have nearly the same level of political representation as Shia Muslims or even Christians, and increasingly fears the domination of Hezbollah over the country, could easily turn to Turkey as a sort of protector. We should not be surprised that the bulk of anti-Armenian sentiment in Lebanon has come from the North, which is heavily Sunni.
Perhaps the most insidious result of this strategy is the propagation of anti-Armenian propaganda at pan-Muslim events in the United States. Just last year, during a Muslim American Society convention, official publications from the Turkish government denying the Armenian Genocide were distributed to visitors. The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, a major American Muslim Advocacy group, has also pushed Turkish propaganda, claiming that the Armenian Genocide of 1915 is taken out of historical context and that Muslim suffering during the same time period is never discussed.
The overall attempt has been to inflect a general Muslim hostility towards Christianity (which has very deep roots in Islam) with a more particular Turkish hatred of Armenians. Such an attempt, if successfully accomplished, would be a massive propaganda victory for Erdogan’s government. This would signal a shift in influence over radical Islam from the Saudis to the Turks.
Armenians should brace for increased hostility not only from the Turks, but also from the Sunni communities that they have lived with peacefully for decades. They are in turmoil right now, and Erdogan may have found them the perfect scapegoat.