TURKEY - Reconciliation with Israel in the Works?

Arno Froese

With its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood and support for Hamas, the AK Party, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is a reactionary far-right religious party that has sought to transform Turkey into an authoritarian one-party state, while backing extremist groups in places like Syria.

However, despite Ankara’s obsessive anti-Israel policies, such as comparing Israel to Nazi-era Germany and hosting top-level Hamas terrorists who plotted attacks on Israel from Turkey, there has been a constant lobby to restore Turkey-Israel relations.

Supporters of reconciliation between Israel and Turkey don’t acknowledge that Turkey primarily burned down the relationship due entirely to the ideology of the current regime in Ankara. Instead, the supporters posit that Israel and Turkey enjoy some strategic and economic interests and that they are somehow destined to work together.

In this worldview, whether Turkey is run by ideological allies of the Taliban or communists is immaterial.

Ankara also wants to prevent an Israel-Greece pipeline and energy deals. It wants its economy to improve and also wants better relations with the US. Turkey’s leadership has plunged the country into economic disaster with rising inflation. Ankara thinks Israel can be an economic lifeline.

Those who back reconciliation tend to argue that there are economic benefits for Israel. There is little evidence of this. Israel’s economy has performed well in recent decades, and it already has trade with Turkey.

It is Turkey’s economy that is in a free fall, and it’s unclear why Israel would want exposure to these economic shambles. Closer economic ties with the Gulf states and stable Asian countries would appear more productive.

Another argument is that Turkey somehow agrees with Israel on Iran issues and Syria. This theory asserts that Turkey is a natural rival of Iran. This is because people think Turkey is a “Sunni” country and thus destined to fight the “Shia” in Iran; also because some argue that the Ottomans are historic rivals of the “Persians.” Thus, these countries must always fight each other.

-www.jpost.com, 30 January 2022

Arno's Commentary

Politics are a vital part of the world unifying process. Turkey knows that to be left out in the European-Israeli relationship could be disastrous; thus, a new word has appeared— reconciliation.

During the 1980s, USSR General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev popularized glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring), allowing for the progression of unorthodox Soviet communist policies. 

What seems helpful is religion, since approximately 89% of Iran’s population is Shiite Muslim; Turkey is 85% Sunni Muslim. From that perspective, Israel could use Turkey as a buffer in the opposition to Iran. 

We note also that the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire ruled the Biblical Promised Land for about 400 years. Even today, in modern Israel, some Turkish laws are still on the books. 

Turkey has failed to convince the EU that they are a suitable candidate for membership in the world’s most prestigious group of nations. There are several reasons, of which religion is one. Besides, many Europeans insist Turkey is not geographically located in Europe; thus, cannot join the Union.

From our perspective, what’s interesting is that we read in Revelation of the seven churches in Asia Minor—all located in today’s modern Turkey—yet all no longer exist, since over 99% of Turkey is Muslim. Will Israel be a bridge? Time will tell.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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