The following quote is from a nationalist poem used by Recip Tayyip Erdoğan in a famous speech that he gave when he was mayor of Istanbul. The speech landed him in jail for four months in 1999 and banned him from political life in Turkey under the charge of “inciting hatred based on religious differences.” It gives us a peek into the man’s heart and aspirations.
“Our minarets are our bayonets, our domes are our helmets, our mosques are our barracks. We will put a final end to ethnic segregation. No one can ever intimidate us. If the skies and the ground were to open against us. If floods and volcanoes were to burst, we will not turn from our mission. My reference is Islam. If I am not able to speak of this, what is the use of living?
Erdogan is the type of person the Antichrist would have to be, the type of leader that most prophetic experts predict – slick, persuasive, able to bridge the Eastern and Western worlds in dress, manner, and understanding, and being well-spoken and fluent in English. It is not a great leap to imagine a Turkish man. Perhaps a good candidate would be Sinan Ogan of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party.
Sinan Ogan is out of the recent presidential race but he has played a pivotal role in the second round as he came out in favor of Erdogan and is now seen as the “kingmaker”. In the aftermath of Turkey’s dramatic elections, a new name is on the lips of political commentators: third-placed presidential contender Sinan Ogan.
In the US, Gog and Magog in biblical prophecy were Russia, reflecting the Cold War lenses that were used at the time to interpret Scripture. However, now many end times Bible scholars believe Gog and Magog represent Turkey.
Turkey is identified by multiple ancient place names/locations that existed within that country’s current borders (i.e., Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, Togarmah). This coalition of nations, and the Bible implies many more nations with them, will make an all-out assault on Israel, intending to destroy her. God told Ezekiel that this event would occur in the ‘latter years’ (Ezekiel 38:8). At the last moment it will look like Israel will be wiped out, but God will intervene and … the other nations, including Iran, will suffer a 7-fold judgment from God – a great earthquake, pestilence, bloodshed, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone (Ezekiel 38:19-22). Finally, if the nations of the Middle East mentioned in Ezekiel 38 (i.e., Libya, Iran, Turkey, etc.) are right now coming into alignment with each other before our very eyes, and assuming that the incredible event described above occurs sometime during the Great Tribulation period as most Biblical scholars believe, how much closer are we then to the soon coming return of Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel 38, one of the primary End Times passages in God’s Word, “confirms Turkey’s leadership role” due to five of the eight “nations” mentioned are located in Turkey.
Revelation 17 reaffirms Turkey as the host of the Antichrist, with Istanbul as the empire that suffered a fatal wound but will return to stun the world. That blow, many would say, was the AD 1453 capture of the glorious city of Constantinople, a true wonder of the world that was taken over by the Turks.
Another interesting note is Istanbul has long been known as the “city on seven hills,” which has a strange ring when you read this verse in Revelation 17: The seven heads [of the woman on the Beast] are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction (vv. 9-11).
Daniel 9 says the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem will be destroyed by the people of the prince to come (v. 26). The unit of the Roman legion that leveled the Temple in AD 70 was based in Antioch in modern Turkey.
Daniel 11 tells us of a “king of the North” who will be much like the Antichrist (an archetype of him). Most prophecy scholars agree that this was Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the ruler of the Seleucid Division of the Greek Empire. Much of that king’s reign was over modern-day Turkey.
Isaiah’s and Micah’s frequent mentions of Assyria’s opposition to Messiah Jesus further underscore the geographical proof of Turkey’s role. The ancient kingdom of Assyria comprised much of modern Turkey.
Zechariah 9 reaffirms Turkey’s role as it says the sons of Zion will be roused against the sons of another kingdom. Verse 13 has often been translated as “sons of Greece,” leading to many interpretations of the End Times centered around a revival of the Greek Empire, or the Western world as exemplified in Greek thought. But more careful, literal translations interpret this verse as “sons of Yavan.” Who was Yavan? A grandson of Noah, whose descendants settled in western Turkey, many in the city of Izmir, a longtime biblical site. Another son of Yavan (or Javan) was Tarshish, now modern-day Tarsus, also in Turkey.
The “throne of Satan” mentioned in Revelation 2 was constructed in Pergamum, a city whose spectacular ruins you can see in Turkey today, along with a reconstruction of that throne. In addition to these seven “biblical proofs,” Walid Shoebat* makes a powerful case for a Turkish Antichrist by noting that any Beast who would be able to dupe the nation of Israel into a peace treaty for three-and-a-half years would have to “have the reputation for being moderate and must possess the trust of the Israelis and the world.” I agree. There will need to be some repair in the Turk-Israeli alliance before this can happen, but these two nations have shown a remarkable willingness to partner in hopes of keeping the rest of the Middle East calm, up until very recently. And despite the political tension between the two, the economic relationship remains strong, with a nearly 40 percent jump in trade reported in 2013. Turkey and Israel have a history of cooperation, unlike Israel with other Middle
Turkey is one of the few Middle Eastern countries that recognized Israel’s right to exist immediately, on March 28, 1949. Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the U.A.E., and Yemen still do not accept Israeli passports, and I don’t see another country of consequence in the region that would be able to lure Israel into a peace treaty.
Shoebat affirms the common scriptural narrative that “the Antichrist will initially appear to be moderate and trustworthy, but he will also eventually show his true colors. And, his success will come through deceit and shrewdness.” He added, “When searching for the Antichrist, one must never look to Ahmadinejads or Usamas of the world, but instead to someone with a moderate mask – at least in the beginning. His sinister, rabid hatred for Jews and Christians will not be revealed until he lures the sheep into his den.”
Anyone able to pull off a peace treaty with Israel and then negotiate his way to global domination will look great, speak well in English, and be comfortable around all sorts of people from the West and East. I don’t think he will wear an Arab dress or be monolingual. I think he will look like a handsome politician and wear a variety of clothing to fit the context; he will be familiar with Western ways of thought, and he will probably have been educated at some point in Europe or the U.S. This fits the profile of many leaders in Turkey who have studied abroad and speak at least passable English. They present themselves and their country as moderate, tolerant, and inclusive, but they are not shy about their faith, either.
The fact is the Turks have either killed or driven out all minority peoples and faiths. The Armenian Genocide in 1914-18 is increasingly recognized, even among Turks, as having occurred. One-and-a-half million Christians were expelled in 1923, and another 150,000 left after anti-Christian riots in Istanbul in 1955, helping to cut the Christian population from two million to a mere four thousand today.[
The author Ralph Stice tells a story that is classical Turkish “tolerance.” At the University he was teaching, he tried to book the room that was designated for religious minorities to meet. On the surface, it looks as if religious minorities will be welcomed to practice their faith as they see fit. In reality, however, Christians were not allowed to meet in the room designated for them in a religious complex. The promise was, in fact, a lie. Perhaps this is why the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Christian Church, Bartholomew, told 60 Minutes, “I feel crucified” living under a Turkish government that “would like to see his nearly 2,000-year-old Patriarchate die out,” as the church’s seminary was shut down and part of its property seized, like a python slowly squeezing a victim to death.[
As the idea that Turkey could be the home of the Antichrist has gained circulation, Turkish imams are fighting back even as they agree to be interviewed by American authors such as Joel Richardson. Adnan Oktar is a renowned Islamic teacher who oversees a popular website bursting with information on al-Mahdi. When challenged; in a soft, calm, reasoning voice, Oktar says that labeling Turkey as the Antichrist “makes the slaying of the Muslim world lawful,” and then says, “It is wrong and illogical to portray Turkey as the Antichrist. It is cruelty … You fail to think the best … You must trust people … You are sowing the seeds of hatred in all Christians’ hearts … You should be demanding warmth and brotherhood … We believe in the same Allah, don’t we?
Summary by Ralph Stice: For the many reasons I’ve stated – from Turkey as the site of the largest Muslim empire in the world and the only country seeking to revive such an empire, to possible scriptural evidence for the “Lost Land of the Bible” being a key country in the End Times – I believe Turkey merits our most careful attention in the years to come. As I lived in Turkey, I found a brand of Islam that I think would play very well in the modern world as a deceptive lure into the religion of Muhammad. There is just enough charm, Sufi-inspired emotion, and emphasis on “love,” “understanding,” and “tolerance” to make a Turk a prime candidate for the Antichrist, someone who appears quite palatable with politically correct people, yet who has a burning desire to spread Islam across the globe. Let me add Sinan Ogan is a good example of such a Turk.
*Walid Shoebat. He used to be a radicalized Muslim willing to die for the cause of Jihad until he converted to Christianity in 1994.
A significant portion of this post was taken from the book by Ralph Stice, Arab Spring, Christian Winter: Islam Unleashed on the Church and the World. ANEKO Press.