After years of inaction, new Foreign Ministry plan aims to stop Ankara’s efforts to undermine Israeli sovereignty in east Jerusalem. Among proposed steps: outlawing Muslim Brotherhood, limiting activities of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, whose stated objective is “preventing the Judaization of Jerusalem.”
Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz has ordered his office to draw
up plans to stop the Turkish government’s efforts to undermine Israeli
sovereignty in Jerusalem and protect Jordan’s special status as guardian of
Muslim holy sites in the city.
Katz intends to present the plan to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu soon,
so he can authorize its implementation. Due to the sensitivity of the plan,
whose implementation will almost certainly lead to a direct confrontation with
Ankara, it is also expected to be raised for discussion by the
Diplomatic-Security Cabinet. According to ministry officials, as the plan pertains
to security matters, there is nothing preventing it from being implemented by a
The issue of Turkey’s influence on members of Jerusalem’s Arab population
has weighed on security and diplomatic officials’ minds for years. As Israel
Hayom has previously reported, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been
buying influence over sites and prominent figures in east Jerusalem for years.
Nevertheless, Jerusalem has not made any effort to challenge these efforts up
The Foreign Ministry’s plan would see the Muslim Brotherhood, which has
close ties to Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party, deemed an illegal
association in Israel. Further ministry recommendations for thwarting Ankara’s
efforts include restricting the activities of the Turkish Cooperation and
Coordination Agency, or TIKA, in Israel. The organization, whose stated
objective is “preventing
the Judaization of Jerusalem,” spends some $12 million annually
on activities aimed at undermining Israeli sovereignty in east Jerusalem. It
should be noted that these activities are personally managed by Erdoğan.
The plan’s architects propose obligating TIKA to coordinate its activities
with Israel in advance and preventing the association from act unequivocally in
Jerusalem. In addition, they propose Jerusalem not renew the head of TIKA in
Jerusalem’s, a move that would strip the organization head of his diplomatic
status in Israel and render his presence in Israel illegal.
Additional steps would include restricting communications between members of
the Islamic Waqf.
In preliminary discussions, Katz said, “We will not accept a situation
in which the Turkish government headed by Erdoğan acts to create centers of
unrest and incitement in Jerusalem through funding and holding radical Islamic
activities [inspired by] the Muslim Brotherhood and under the auspices and
disguise of religious, social, cultural, and educational activities.”
Katz emphasized, “We will take all the [necessary] steps to pull the
rug out from under the diplomatic basis for Turkey’s activities in east
Jerusalem in order to bolster Israeli sovereignty in all parts of the city. The
days of the Ottoman Empire are over.”
According to Katz, “Erdoğan’s declarations that Jerusalem belongs to
all of the Muslims are unfounded and baseless. Israel is the sovereign in
Jerusalem, through protecting full freedom of worship to members of all
religions. We will not allow any element to harm this sovereignty.
“Beyond that,” Katz noted, “in accordance with the peace
agreement between Israel and Jordan, the Jordanians have special status as far
as concerns the holy places to Islam in Jerusalem, and we will not allow
Erdoğan to harm Jordan’s status, as is happening today.”
“So Esau went unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives that he had Mahalath the
daughter of Ishmael Avraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth, to be his wife.” Genesis 28:9
(The Israel Bible™)
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.
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
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
Ships come from the quarter of Kittim; They subject Assyria,
subject Eber. They, too,
shall perish forever. 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
“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”
“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.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his United Nations General
Assembly speech last week to blast Israel as the cause of “injustice” in the
Middle East and vow that his country “will continue to stand by the oppressed
people of Palestine as she has always done.” But a new report by Israel’s Meir
Amit Intelligence and Information Center, as well as new sanctions announced by
the U.S. Treasury Department, make it clear that Erdogan is in no position to
“Turkey turns a blind eye to Hamas’s covert operational and financial
activity being carried out from its territory (which has recently been
demonstrated in the American sanctions) and regularly denies its existence,”
the Meir Amit center reported.
“[T]he latest American designations clearly demonstrate that Turkey
continues to be used as a hub for Hamas’s operational and financial activity,
even after the departure of Saleh al-Arouri,” the Meir Amit report said. Arouri,
a founder of the Hamas military wing and a member of the Hamas political
bureau, lived in Turkey until last year.
During his time in Turkey, he helped plot Hamas terror attacks. He claimed
credit on behalf of Hamas for the 2014 kidnapping and murder of
three Israeli yeshiva students. Later that year, the Shin Bet “uncovered an
extensive Hamas military network which operated in Judea and Samaria. Its
operatives had planted IEDs in Samaria. They [were] handled by Hamas’s
headquarters in Turkey,” the Meir Amit report said.
“Hamas’s military operatives who were trained abroad (in various countries,
including Turkey) participated in this activity.”
For his part, Erdogan considers Hamas
a “liberation movement” and denies that it is a terrorist group.
While it supports the Palestinian-Arab cause, Turkey denies autonomy to more
than 15 million Kurds and even represses the
use of the Kurdish language. It has bombed Kurdish civilians. It occupies much
of northwestern Syria and has engaged in
ethnic cleansing against the
Kurds there. Turkish warplanes bombed a hospital in Afrin during its invasion
of the Kurdish enclave last year, independent analysis by
Bellingcat, a citizen journalism organization that focuses on war crimes and
criminal activities, showed.
Those include Zaher Jabarin, who heads Hamas’ finance office from Turkey and
manages tens of millions of dollars in Hamas money. Jabarin’s transfers of U.S.
dollars “finance HAMAS’s terrorist activity,” the Treasury statement said. Like
Arouri, Jabarin was one of the founders of the Hamas military wing in Judea and
Samaria. Jabarin was in charge of a Hamas squad that abducted and murdered
Israeli border policeman Nissim Toledano in 1992, the Meir Amit report said.
“Jabarin has served as the primary point of contact between Hamas and the
[Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp –Quds Force] IRGC-QF. Since 2017, his
relations with them were enhanced based on Hamas operatives’ efforts to
increase funding from Iran,” the report said.
Treasury also targeted the Turkey-based Redin Exchange as “a key part of the
infrastructure used to transfer money” to Hamas. Redin transferred $10 million
to the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, in March.
Redin also facilitated a $2 million transfer last year from the IRGC-QF and
Hezbollah to Hamas. Its deputy CEO, Ismail Tash, was the primary contact in
numerous Iran-Hamas money transfers, the Meir Amit report found.
Erdogan’s inner circle has encouraged bloodshed between Israel and the
Palestinians by providing assistance to the al-Qassam Brigades. Israel’s Shin
Bet arrested two
suspects last year linked to the Turkish
private military company SADAT, which run by top
Erdogan military adviser retired Brig. Gen. Adnan Tanriverdi.
It accused them of helping Hamas’ military buildup by providing money and
weapons to the terrorists. SADAT’s website calls for the use of military force
against Israel. Meir Amit reported that
Jabarin had recruited the men under instructions from Arouri.
“The liaison of Palestine with the globe should not be left at the mercy of
Israel. This requires open support by Islamic countries. Every effort should be
made, including use of force,” SADAT says on
Erdogan presented Turkey as a terrorism fighter, saying Turkey killed ISIS
fighters in areas of Syria it occupies. He glossed over Turkey’s clandestine
support for ISIS in Syria.
“Turkey has been the country most
influenced by the [ISIS] threat; this terrorist organization has harassed our
borders and targeted our cities very near the borders with suicide bombings
that have killed hundreds of Turkish citizens,” Erdogan said.
“Turkey is the first country that has delivered the heaviest blow to the [ISIS]
presence in Syria.”
Internal documents and whistleblowers tell a different story — one of a
country that plays both sides when it comes to ISIS. Leaked emails from
Erdogan’s son-in-law and current Turkish finance minister, Berat
Albayrak, showed his
connection to an ISIS oil smuggling operations.
The Treasury Department sanctions also
targeted several Turkish companies that “materially assisted … or provided
financial, material, or technological support” to ISIS.
Turkey’s intelligence agency, the MIT, conspired to bus ISIS jihadists
across Turkish territory, leaked Turkish wiretaps
show. At least 15,000 ISIS fighters entered Syria that way, Abdullah
Bozkurt, former editor of Turkey’s Today’s Zaman newspaper, told the
Investigative Project on Terrorism (where we both work) in February.
Turkish police were told not to arrest ISIS fighters traveling to Syria,
said former Turkish National Police official Ahmet Yayla.
Turkey provided ISIS with drones and munitions, an ISIS fighter detained by
the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who was interviewed by the
International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism said. He and a Palestinian-Arab
ISIS fighter held by the SDF said that Turkish hospitals
provided medical assistance to wounded ISIS terrorists.
“Like me, thousands of ISIS members have been treated in Turkey. Everyone
knows that Turkey is the mother of all jihadist groups,” said former
ISIS fighter Islam Ahmed Muhammed Balusha. “This applies to the jihadist groups
in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and even from Palestine to Afghanistan. Turkey has
supported the ISIS massively.”
Erdogan’s party, the AKP, allegedly used ISIS to attack political opponents.
EU INTCEN, the European Union’s intelligence arm, reportedly suggested
the AKP ordered an October 2015 ISIS suicide
bombing at a peace rally in Ankara that killed 109 people.
Erdogan’s pretense of being the savior of the region’s problems belies the
fact his government has become a major terrorism supporter and is guilty of
everything he criticizes Israel of doing.
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,300, September 26, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: At testing times, Turkey’s Islamist strongman,
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has always sought refuge at home, taking
pleasure in his massive popularity. But after 17 consecutive years in power,
having won every election in which he ran, Turkey’s self-declared Sultan is
showing signs of fatigue – and his popularity may be wearing thin.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan behaves like a cornered cat when it
comes to regional politics: he acts savagely and erratically, lashing out at both
real and imagined enemies. His adversaries are the EU (Italy, France, Cyprus,
and Greece in particular, due to a row over hydrocarbons in the Eastern
Mediterranean), the US, and Israel. In neighboring Syria he is threatening a
bloody military assault on the Kurds. He is explicitly unwanted in fellow
Muslim countries like Egypt, Lebanon, and the UAE due to his rigid support for
Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. In Libya he is waging a proxy war against
secular Muslims who want to oust an Islamist government in Tripoli.
At times like these, Erdoğan has always sought refuge at home, taking
pleasure in his massive popularity. But after 17 consecutive years in power,
having won every election, Turkey’s Islamist strongman is showing signs of
fatigue. And as the country continues to fail both economically and
politically, Erdoğan may no longer be invincible.
“He who wins Istanbul wins Turkey” is Erdoğan’s own dictum. He may be right:
Istanbul is home to nearly 15% of Turkey’s 57 million voters and accounts for 31%
of its GDP. Erdoğan launched his political journey by being elected mayor of
Istanbul in 1994.
On March 31, a little-known opposition candidate, Ekrem Imamoğlu, won
Istanbul (where more than 11 million voters are registered) by a margin of
13,000 votes. Erdoğan challenged the result and demanded a new vote – only to
lose, the second time, by a margin of 800,000. He lost both Istanbul and Ankara
after 25 years of Islamist rule.
Erdoğan’s bitter defeat came at a time of a rise in anti-government
protests, mostly focused on environmental issues. “The wave of peaceful
demonstrations – the country’s largest since the 2013 Gezi Park rallies –
suggests a newfound vitality among the opposition, with potentially deep
implications for Turkey’s democracy,” wrote Soner Cağaptay and Deniz Yüksel for
the Washington Institute. “This consolidation of power, coupled with frequent
crackdowns on protestors, left many in the opposition disheartened.”
With 4.7 million jobless and unemployment continuing to soar, 15% inflation,
and high borrowing rates, Turkey’s economy is not functioning well. The
national currency, the lira, has been volatile ever since a serious crisis last
Erdoğan is at war with Turkey’s 15 million or so Kurds. He recently
appointed government trustees to three overwhelmingly Kurdish provinces in
southern Turkey, escalating tensions between Ankara and the Kurdish southeast
and further undermining Turkey’s already problematic democratic outlook.
It would be ironic if Erdoğan were to lose power after his long stretch of
Islamist rule. Necmettin Erbakan, whom Erdoğan often referred to as “master,”
became Turkey’s first Islamist PM in 1995 when he won 21% of the national vote
and signed a coalition agreement with a center-right party. Erbakan’s political
vision featured a rigid Islamism based on an anti-Western, anti-EU isolationist
rhetoric known as “the National View” – a bizarre policy blend deeply hated by
the (then) strong military top brass. Wisely, Erdoğan parted ways with his
“master” and burst onto the political stage with a less rigid Islamist policy
calculus. His Islamism was to be compatible with Western democratic culture and
capitalism, or so he claimed. In a 2000 interview he said “he had thrown away
the shirt called “National View.”
Erdoğan and his top brass – whom Erbakan called “our naughty boys” for their
departure from the straight and narrow – held that a more pro-Western rhetoric
had to be showcased if Islamists wanted to come to power. This was a political
struggle between the Islamist conservative and reformist wings.
Erdoğan’s second-in-command was his long-time comrade Abdullah Gül. Through
a controversial parliamentary vote in 2007, Gül became president with Erdoğan,
who was PM at the time. Erdoğan and Gül thus ran the show together, à la Putin
and Medvedev. In 2009, Erdoğan appointed Ahmet Davutoğlu, a Gül confidante, as
FM, and, in 2014, as PM. The third man in Erdoğan’s hall of fame was brilliant
economist Ali Babacan, who became finance minister.
All three men grew disillusioned with Erdoğan’s increasingly despotic
one-man approach to governance. Now in political exile, they are showing signs
of making a comeback. Last year, this prospect was just another tidbit on the
Ankara political grapevine, but it has gone beyond mere speculation. Gül,
Davutoğlu, and Babacan are working day and night to formally launch their
version of a market-friendly, pro-Western, pro-democracy political party (or
Erdoğan has threatened that they will pay a high price for their “treason”
and claimed that a new party (or parties) would mean “dividing the umma.”
If launched, this would be the sixth Islamist party in Turkey’s political
history, with Erdoğan’s emerging as the only successful experiment.
How popular the “new party” will be (to use the phrase of Turkish observers)
is anyone guess. Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party, supported by the
ultra-nationalist Nationalist Movement Party, appears to be able to give him
the 50% plus one vote he needs to be reelected in the presidential elections of
2023. The “new party” will try to challenge him directly, with the aim of
winning a share of his conservative voter base. Observers rightly think the
“new party” will appeal more to “intellectual conservatives” whereas Erdoğan’s
party will continue to target less educated Islamists.
“Even if the ‘new party’ won [only] a couple of percentage points from
Erdoğan, it may be the beginning of the end for him,” an Erdoğan confidante
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan holds up a map as he addresses the 74th session of the United Nations
General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S.,
September 24, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI)
“Israel, which was almost
non-existent in 1947, has continued until this day to seize Palestinian land
with the aim of eliminating the state and the Deal of the Century will support
those territorial ambitions,” Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the United
Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
“Where are the borders of the State of Israel? Is it the 1947 borders, the 1967
borders or is there another border that we need to know of?” Erdogan asked,
alluding to Netanyahu’s plan to expand Israeli sovereignty to West Bank
Erdogan held up four maps to
illustrate his point, with the Palestinians in green and Israel in white, to
demonstrate Israel’s changing border from 1947 to today.
Erdogan also spoke against the US recognition of Israel’s 1981 annexation of
the Golan Heights.
“How can the Golan Heights and the West Bank settlements be seized just like
other occupied Palestinian territories before the eyes of the world?” Erdogan
He accused the Trump administration of wanting to destroy Palestinian statehood
with its unpublished plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Is the aim of the initiative to promote, as the ‘Deal of the Century,’ to
entirely eliminate the presence of the state and the people of Palestine? Do
you want another bloodshed?” Erdogan asked. “All actors of the international
community, and in particular, the UN, should provide complete support to the
Palestinian people beyond more promises.”
Erdogan did not speak of the refusal of the Arab countries to accept UN General
Assembly Resolution 181, the 1947 partition plan that would have created both
Jewish and Palestinian states. Nor did he speak of Jordan’s attack against
Israel during the Six Day War – despite Israeli pleas to King Hussein to stay
out of the fighting – in response to which Israel wrestled control of the West
“I am quite curious, what about this map of Israel? Where is Israel? Where does
the land of Israel begin and end? Look at this map, where was Israel in 1947
and where is Israel now, especially between the years between 1949 and 1967?”
The Turkish President then pointed to the map and said, “Look, this is 1947.
The land of Palestine. There is seemingly almost no Israeli presence on this
lands, the entire territory belongs to the Palestinians.”
He said that 1947 was the year that the “Palestinian land starts shrinking and
Israel starts expanding” and added that “Israel is still expanding and
Palestine is still shrinking.”
He called on the UN to take action and enforce its many resolutions against
Israel, as “Israel is still willing to take over the remainder of the land,”
according to Erdogan.
“Under this roof, we are producing resolutions without any effect, so when do
you think – or where do you think – justice can prevail?” he asked.
Israel and the US, he said, were busy “intervening and attacking the historical
and legal status of Jerusalem, and holy sacred lands and artifacts,” Erdogan
The Turkish President said he supported a two-state solution on the pre-1967
line and warned the US that any other resolution would not work.
“Any other peace plan other than this will never have a chance of being fair
just, and it will never be implemented,” Erdogan said. “Today, the
Palestinian territory under Israeli occupation has become one of the most
striking places of injustice.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan now wants to make Turkey a rogue state with nuclear weapons.
For several decades, Turkey, being a staunch NATO ally,
was viewed as the trusted custodian of some of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
In the early 1960s, the U.S. started stockpiling nuclear warheads at the
Turkish military’s four main airbases
Presently, the nuclear warheads in Turkey at Incirlik
airbase still remain at the disposal of the U.S. military under a special
U.S.-Turkish treaty. That treaty makes Turkey the host of U.S. nuclear
weapons. According to the launch protocol, however, both Washington and
Ankara need to give consent to any use of the nuclear weapons deployed at
“Countries that oppose Iran’s nuclear weapons
should not have nuclear weapons themselves.” — Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Hürriyet, 2008.
If Turkey overtly or covertly launched a nuclear
weapons program — as Erdoğan apparently wishes — the move could well
have a domino effect on the region. Turkey’s regional adversaries would be
alarmed, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Greece might be tempted to
launch their own nuclear weapons programs. Erdoğan should not be allowed
to possess nuclear weapons.
During the 17 years he has ruled
NATO-member Turkey, the country’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan, has rarely missed an opportunity stealthily to convert Mustafa Kemal
Atatürk’s secular, pro-Western establishment into a rogue state hostile to
Western interests. Erdoğan now wants to make it a rogue state with nuclear
“They say we can’t have
nuclear-tipped missiles, though some have them. This, I can’t accept,”
Erdoğan said in a September 4
speech, while conveniently forgetting that Turkey has signed the Nuclear
Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1980. In other words, Turkey’s elected leader
publicly declares that he intends to breach an international treaty signed by
his country. Turkey is also a signatory to the 1996 Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear detonations, for any purpose.
For several decades, Turkey, being a
staunch NATO ally, was viewed as the trusted custodian of some of the
U.S. nuclear arsenal. In the early 1960s, the U.S. started stockpiling nuclear
warheads at the Turkish military’s four main airbases (Ankara Mürted, Malatya
Erhaç, Eskişehir and Balıkesir). If ordered, Turkish air force pilots were
tasked with hitting designated Warsaw Pact targets.
Squadrons of jets designated for
carrying nuclear bombs were kept at each airbase (first F-100s, followed by
F-104s and finally by F-4s) on a round-the-clock basis. Each base housed a
small U.S. military unit in charge of the nuclear stockpile. In addition, a
Turkish-U.S. military base in Incirlik in southern Turkey kept nuclear warheads
to be operated by U.S. military. “With that role Turkey significantly
added to NATO’s deterrence in Cold War years,” said Yusuf Kanlı, a
prominent columnist and president of the Ankara-based think tank, Sigma Turkey,
in a private interview on September 9.
After the end of the Cold War, the
nuclear weapons in Turkish possession (at the four airbases, except Incirlik)
were gradually removed, while nuclear guardianship came to a halt. Presently,
the nuclear warheads at Incirlik still remain at the disposal of the U.S.
military under a special U.S.-Turkish treaty. That treaty makes Turkey the host
of U.S. nuclear weapons. According to the usage protocol, however, both
Washington and Ankara need to give consent to any use of the nuclear weapons
deployed at Incirlik.
This is not, in fact, the first time
Erdoğan has voiced an eagerness to make Turkey a nuclear-armed state. As early
as 2008 — when he was the poster child of naïve Western statesmen and
intellectuals who believed he was a reformist democrat — Erdoğan said: “Countries that oppose Iran’s nuclear
weapons should not have nuclear weapons themselves.” Despite his use of
the plural “countries,” Erdoğan was apparently pointing his finger at
the country he hates the most: Israel, not the United States.
In a 2010 speech, Erdoğan described
Israel as “the principal threat to peace” in the Middle East. In that
speech, he repeated his skepticism about whether Iran intended to use its
nuclear-fuel program to build nuclear weapons, and said there was no such
uncertainty concerning Israel’s undeclared arsenal.
If Turkey overtly or covertly
launched a nuclear weapons program — as Erdoğan apparently wishes — the move
could well have a domino effect on the region. Turkey’s regional adversaries
would be alarmed, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Greece might be tempted to
launch their own nuclear weapons programs. Erdoğan should not be allowed to
possess nuclear weapons.
Despite their limited economic relations and ongoing differences over the
Uyghur issue, the two countries could grow closer if Western partners fail to
provide the financial boost Turkey needs so badly.
In June, China’s central bank reportedly transferred $1 billion to Turkey as
part of a currency swap agreement that dates back to 2012. While the influx of
cash is the largest Beijing has ever provided to Ankara, the most it can do is
lend a minor short-term boost to the country’s dwindling foreign exchange
reserves. For China to fully sponsor Turkey’s struggling economy, the two
governments would have to overcome key historical policy differences,
especially regarding the Turkic Uyghurs in China’s restless Xinjiang region.
ECONOMIC TIES UNDER ERDOGAN
With few natural resources of its own, Turkey relies on foreign capital
injections and strong ties to international markets for growth. President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan’s electoral success since 2003 has been largely driven by the
record amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) the country has attracted
during his tenure, mostly from Europe. The resultant economic growth boosted
his voter base—many of his diehard fans are attracted to him because he helped
lift them out of poverty.
More recently, however, the economy has been shrinking amid financial
volatility, political uncertainty, rising unemployment (currently 15 percent),
and rampant inflation (17 percent). Erdogan therefore needs more FDI to finance
the growth he relies on politically.
Given the size of Turkey’s economy—just under a trillion dollars—only the
U.S.-headquartered International Monetary Fund would have the funds necessary
to rescue it in case of financial meltdown, as Erdogan is well aware. He also
realizes that Russia cannot afford to play that role on its own. In theory,
China could do so, but this would require the two countries to bridge their
differences on the Uyghur issue.
In June 2018, Erdogan sent Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to seek
economic assistance from Beijing at a time of dire need—the lira was
collapsing, a wider meltdown loomed, and relations with Washington were in
crisis over the Pastor Andrew Brunson affair and related U.S. sanctions. Yet
Cavusoglu returned home with no promise of a Chinese rescue.
This result seemed surprising given that Beijing had been courting Turkey
through its enticing Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aimed at developing
extensive trade routes to Europe and other locales. In Ankara’s case this meant
providing soft loans for construction of new metro lines and other
infrastructure. These investments are at the core of China’s Turkey policy, and
Ankara has repeatedly expressed its desire to benefit from the BRI. Almost all
Turkish ministries have developed action plans to boost ties with China, and
the BRI has been incorporated in the policy papers of Turkish bureaucracy.
ENTER THE UYGHURS
Despite this momentum, Beijing remains deeply worried about Ankara’s deep
historical ties with the Turkic Uyghur community in Xinjiang. Previously known
as East Turkestan, Xinjiang was a nominal part, and occasionally a vassal
state, of China’s nineteenth-century Qing dynasty. Turkey’s involvement in
Uyghur affairs dates back to that time, when Ottoman sultans instrumentalized
Islam to spread their influence.
For instance, in 1873, Sultan Abdulaziz sent the Uyghurs a shipment of
weapons for use against the Qing in return for recognition of his suzerainty.
At the time, the Qing were once again trying to advance deep into Xinjiang,
laying the foundations of Chinese domination that would become formalized and
deeply entrenched in the next century.
After the Turkic region became firmly integrated into China following the
1949 Communist Revolution, Mao Zedong initiated a crackdown against nationalist
Uyghurs, forcing many to flee in search of political asylum. Turkey, then a
newly minted and committed U.S. ally in the Cold War, gladly welcomed these
ethnic kin. In doing so, it further solidified relations with Washington and
undermined Beijing ahead of the Korean War. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s,
Ankara resettled thousands of Uyghurs with U.S. support. Another wave arrived
in the late 1970s, following post-Mao reforms.
Ankara has maintained strong support for the Uyghurs under Erdogan, who in
2009 called Chinese policies in Xinxiang “a genocide.” Meanwhile, the issue has
emerged as the most serious political challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping,
spurring him to respond with a heavy-handed crackdown on the Uyghurs. In
addition to sending hundreds of thousands of them to “reeducation camps,” he
has initiated mass surveillance of their communities via closed-circuit camera
systems and high-tech eavesdropping on smartphones and social media.
More recently, Erdogan has downplayed the issue in the state-dominated
Turkish media, which now carries very few stories about the suffering of the
Uyghurs. This strategy seems aimed at currying favor with Beijing.
Nevertheless, leading Uyghur activists still meet regularly with Turkish
officials, and their community in Turkey remains the center of the global
Uyghur diaspora. No official data is available on their numbers, but tens of
thousands of them are estimated to live in Turkey, and they are well liked by
Turkish foreign policy elites. Aware of these deep ties, Beijing has shied away
from providing the hundreds of billions of dollars needed to definitely ward
off a Turkish economic meltdown.
LITTLE TRADE OR INVESTMENT
Another obstacle to Beijing throwing Ankara an economic lifeline is the fact
that their current trade and financial relations are relatively small. Although
Erdogan has diversified Turkey’s trading partners, none of them, including
China, has emerged as a strong alternative to the country’s traditional markets
in the West. Turkey’s exports to China are a fraction of Europe and America’s,
and its trade deficit is large—in 2018, its imports from China amounted to
$19.4 billion, but its exports were only $2.7 billion. And while the
non-Western share in Turkish trade has increased to nearly 30 percent, the EU
alone still accounted for 42 percent last year, compared to just 6 percent for
Similarly, while Turkey’s investment partners have diversified under
Erdogan, the U.S. and European share of FDI inflows has increased as well. In
2005, the EU was Turkey’s largest investor, accounting for 58 percent of net
FDI inflows; by 2018, the figure had grown to 61 percent. In contrast, Chinese
investment flows remained under 1 percent.
Some recent developments hold the promise of future growth—for instance, a
Chinese state-owned company owns a majority share in Istanbul’s Kumport
container docks, and Chinese companies have reportedly offered to take over
management of Istanbul’s “Third” Bosporus Bridge. Yet Beijing’s overall
financial footprint in Turkey is still quite small compared to the West’s.
A resource-poor nation with an annual energy import bill of about $30
billion, Turkey needs tens of billions of dollars in FDI or heavy annual cash
flows to maintain economic growth and keep Erdogan’s base satisfied. Attracting
such a windfall from China would require Ankara to substantially change its
Uyghur policy—a tall order given historical patterns. Yet Turkish businesses
have had trouble obtaining credit from European and American investors of late,
creating a void that Chinese investors may decide to fill in greater numbers.
If that scenario comes to pass, Beijing’s political muscle over Ankara could
increase considerably, moving Turkey closer to the emerging China-Russia axis
in global politics.
Turkey doubled-down on its controversial decision to acquire Russian S-400
air-defense systems by setting out to acquire Russian Sukhoi SU-35 fighter
Last month, Turkey finalized a $2.5 billion deal with Russia and acquired
the first S-400 systems. The purchase was in response to the U.S. delaying an
acceptable alternative. Turkey is a member of the Northern Alliance Treaty
Organization (NATO) and acquiring Russian weaponry is problematic, making their
systems operationally incompatible with those of the other NATO nations.
The S-400 was specifically designed to shoot down advanced U.S.
warplanes like the F-35.
It is touted to have a range of up to 150 miles (240 km) and the ability to
intercept ballistic missiles from up to 38 miles away.
The Turkish S-400’s are scheduled to be operational in September. The second
batch of S-400’s is scheduled to arrive next year. Turkey’s President Recep
Tayyip Erdoğan has already announced that his country intends to take part in
the upcoming S-500 program.
Last month the sale of the S-400 to Turkey was finalized and the U.S.
announced that Turkey was being removed from the F-35 program. Turkey was
slated to purchase 120 of the hyper-advanced F-35’s. Turkey has already
technically received several F-35s, but they remain on U.S. soil, and their
transfer has been blocked by Congress.
The acquisition of Russian hardware has raised doubts about the
future of Turkey as a NATO member.
The White House at the time said, “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian
intelligence-collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced
After the U.S., Turkey has the second-largest land army of any NATO member
and is considered a key member of the alliance.
Erdogan denied that acquisition of the S-400 was detrimental to his
country’s NATO membership.
“There is no concrete evidence showing the S-400s will harm the F-35s or
NATO, nobody should deceive each other. Many NATO member states have purchased
from Russia. We don’t see this being turned into a crisis,” Erdogan was quoted
as saying in Reuters.
Yeni Safak, a Turkish news daily, reported that the Turkey’s
Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), the Turkish Air Force Command, and
other relevant authorities have been asked to investigate the possibility of
purchasing the Russian SU-35 jets.
The conflict over military hardware underscores other disagreements
between Turkey and the U.S.
The U.S.-led coalition in Syria allied with Kurdish militia in the effort to
defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). Turkey considers the Kurdish militia to be a
terrorist and has been at war with them for decades.
Despite acquiring Russian military hardware, Turkey’s relationship with
Russia is at least as rocky as its relationship with U.S. In 2015, Turkish F-16
combat aircraft shot down a Russian Su-24 during an airspace dispute close to
the Turkish-Syrian border. In response, Russia imposed a number of economic sanctions
on Turkey. Relations were normalized one year later.
Since that time, the two countries have sided together in political
disputes with the U.S.
Ironically, the current S-400 situation is the mirror image of a crisis that
emerged in 1997 when Cyprus, Turkey’s smaller and less militaristic neighbor,
planned to install two Russian-made S-300 air-defense systems. Turkey overtly
threatened either a pre-emptive strike to prevent the arrival of the missiles
or an actual war on Cyprus as a response to the arrival of the missiles. Turkey
obtained from Israel surface-to-surface missiles, which could be used in a
military operation to destroy the S-300 when they would be installed on the
island. The crisis effectively ended in 1998 with the decision of the Cypriot
government to transfer the S-300s to Greece’s Hellenic Air Force in exchange
for alternative weapons from Greece. The ultimate irony is that while the Greek
S-300’s were used in joint Cypriot-Israel air exercises, giving the Israeli Air
Force a rare glimpse into the capabilities of the Russian system
The Amorites, also called Amurru or Martu, were an ancient Semitic-speaking people who dominated the history of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine from about 2000 to 1600 BC. Tribal nomads who forced themselves into the lands that they needed; the Amorites were reputedly fierce warriors.
They twice conquered Babylonia and Mesopotamia (at the end of the third and the
beginning of the first millennium), establishing new city states; the most
famous of which became Babylon. Their most noted king, Hammurabi, was the first king of the Babylon Empire.
The Amorites Nomadic Ways
The name Amorite
literally means the “high one.” In the Mesopotamian sources from Sumer, Akkad,
and Assyria, Amorites appear as a nomadic people and are connected with the
mountainous region of Jebel Bishri in northern Syria, called “the mountain of
the Amorites.” They were an ancient tribe of Canaanites, though technically not
of Canaanite ethnicity, which inhabited the region northeast of the Jordan
Amorites were apparently nomadic clans ruled by tribal chiefs, who pushed
into lands they needed to graze their herds. Some Akkadian literature speaks
disparagingly of them, and implies that both the Akkadians and Sumerians viewed
their nomadic way of life with disgust and contempt:
“The MARTU who know no grain…. The MARTU who know no house nor town,
the boors of the mountains…. The MARTU who digs up truffles… who does not
bend his knees [to cultivate the land], who eats raw meat, who has no house
during his lifetime, who is not buried after death…” (Chiera 1934, 58, 112).
“Men of Great Stature”
In Egypt, the Amorites were called “Amar” and were represented on monuments
with fair skin, light hair, blue eyes, curved noses, and pointed beards. They
were supposedly men of great stature. One of their kings, Og, was described by
Moses (Deuteronomy 3:11) as the last “of the remnant of the giants,” and whose bed was 13.5 feet (4 meters)
Amorite Religion and Language
The Amorites lived in close contact with the Sumerians for a long period of
time (preceding their ascendency over the region) and it’s possible they
adopted elements of the Sumerian religion over several centuries. The
Amorites did merge a new god into the Sumerian religion , Marduk, which they elevated to
the supreme position over all the other gods. Known as the storm-god, Marduk
came to assume the role of chief deity, and the story of his rise to supremacy
was dramatically told in the epic myth known as the Enuma Elish. The Amorites
also worshipped the moon-god Sin, and Amurru.
Amorites wrote in a dialect of Akkadian found on tablets at the ancient city of
Mari (modern day Syria) dating from 1800 BC. Since their language shows
northwest Semitic forms, words and constructions, it is believed to have been a
northwest branch of the Canaanite languages, whose other dialects included Hebrew
and Phoenician. The main sources for knowledge about their language are their
proper names which survive in non-Amorite text.
Many of these names are similar to later Biblical Hebrew names. In the dark
age, between 1600 and 1100 BC, the Amorite language disappeared from Babylonia and the mid-Euphrates. In Syria and
Palestine, however, it became dominant and is found in ancient inscriptions
which date near to the end of the second millennium BC.
Conquering Mesopotamia and Babylon
The decline of the Sumerian language in Mesopotamia was also the time of the
most famous Amorite invasion. The last Sumerian dynasty fell around 2000 BC and
Mesopotamia drifted into conflict and chaos for almost a century afterward.
Around 1900 BC the Amorites had managed to gain control of most of the
Inscriptions and tablets by the early Babylonians indicate that they
occupied parts of Syria, the land east of Israel by 1900 BC. Already
established in mid-Mesopotamia,
the Amorites started sacking Neo-Sumerian towns, eventually conquering Babylon
and making it their capital in 1959 BC. Ur, the capital of the Sumerian
civilization, would survive another nine years, until it was taken by the
At first, the Amorites were merely an annoyance to the Ur Empire, but
eventually they undermined it to such an extent that the position of last king,
Ibbi-Sin, was weakened, and his subjects were able to over-throw his rule. By
the time of the last days of the Neo-Sumerian Empire, immigrating Amorites had
become such a force that kings were obliged to construct a 170-mile
(270-kilometer) -long wall from the Tigris to the Euphrates to hold them off.
The Amorites based their capital in the city of Babylon, which was
originally called Akkad, and later served as the center of their empire. For
this reason, the Amorites are sometimes called the Old Babylonians and the
period of their ascendancy over the region, which lasted from 1900-1600 BC, is
called the Old Babylonian period.
King Hammurabi and the Eventual Fall of the Amorites
The Amorites established their authority as the absolute Arabian / Semitic
dynasty by crushing the Elamites and starting the short-lived Babylonian Empire . They were ruled by their King
Hammurabi from 1792 to 1750 BC. He was best known for the set of laws called
Hammurabi’s Code, which constitute one of the earliest surviving codes of law
in recorded history. With his death in 1750 BC, the empire disintegrated into
smaller city states ruled by weaker kings.
In northern Mesopotamia, both the Amorites and Babylonians were driven from
Assyria by Puzur-Sin a native Akkadian-speaking ruler, circa 1740 BC. Around
the same time, native Akkadian speakers threw off Amorite Babylonian rule in
the far south of Mesopotamia. Babylon proper survived for another 100 years.
In 1659 BC, the technologically-advanced Hittites conquered Babylon. After
its fall, the Amorite dialect disappeared and was replaced by an
Assyro-Akkadian dialect, interrupting the gap between Old and Neo-Babylonian and clearly showing that the East
Canaanites had disappeared from Mesopotamia.
In the later second millennium BC, the Amorites migrated or were pushed
westward toward Canaan. There, the Israelites treated them as enemies and left
several records of their defeat by Israelite heroes such as Joshua. The
Amorites disappeared from the historical record as a distinct population group
around the sixth century BC.
“Here stand I and the children Hashem has given me as signs and portents in
Yisrael from the LORD of Hosts, who dwells on Mount Tzion.” Isaiah 8:18
(The Israel Bible™)
An esoteric Jewish source predicted that the lunar eclipse that passed over
Jerusalem Tuesday night portends the sudden death of a “sultan” followed by
great confusion and tragedy. The source, written over one hundred years ago,
has proven to be shockingly accurate in the past, presaging the recent
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King Davids Tomb on Mount Zion, personally
witnessed the lunar
eclipse that passed over Jerusalem on Tuesday night.
“I was at the Kotel (Western Wall) and saw the full moon slowly covered in
shadow,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “It was a powerful
sight when it passed over the gold dome.”
The rabbi noted that the Biblical characters were far more connected to
nature than modern man.
“A modern man does not understand how God appears in nature, how God speaks
to us through nature,” Rabbi Berger said. “To the prophets, this was very
The rabbi cited
Yalkut Moshe, a book of kabbalistic insights written in 1894 by
Rabbi Moshe ben Yisrael Benyamin in Munkacs, Poland.
“If the moon is eclipsed in the month of Tammuz, a ‘sultan’ will die
suddenly and great troubles will follow,” Rabbi Berger quoting yet another
esoteric source. “When the moon is eclipsed in Tammuz, a king of ‘luazi’ will
die suddenly and a great confusion will follow, leading to great problems.”
“Luazi” is generally translated as foreign, as seen in the Book of Psalms.
“This clearly refers to troubles for the non-Jews,” Rabbi Berger said,
citing the Talmud. “The word ‘sultan’ is not generally used. It is only used in
reference to Arab leaders. And since the Muslims mark their months only
by the moon, this seems to be a sign for them, those who built the gold dome
that sits atop the Holy of Holies.”
This lunar eclipse comes two weeks after a solar eclipse passed over the
South Pacific. The eclipse coincided with Rosh Chodesh, the new moon marking
the beginning of the Hebrew month Tammuz. In his book Davar
B’ito, a guide to the calendar based on esoteric Jewish sources, Rabbi
Mordechai Genut brought Jewish sources stating that a new moon in Tammuz was a
sign that great earthquakes were imminent.
“There will be a marked increase in earthquakes and volcanoes, even more
than we have seen in the past year,” Rabbi Genuth said. “Just as the eclipse is
a conflict between the sun and the moon to rule over the heavens, there will be
a similar conflict on earth. This will begin a time when governments are in
balance. Some governments that seem powerful right now will fall and others
will rise in their place.”
Revelation 1:3 "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near".
Watchman for Christ