After quelling a military coup attempt, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to consolidate military and diplomatic power, much as did the Islamic Ottoman empire that existed there more than a century ago.
In his “Underground” video, Richardson, whose works include “The Coming Battle for Jerusalem,” “The Global Jesus Revolution,” “When a Jew Rules the World” and “Islamic Antichrist,” explained his worries.
Erdogan, he noted, is assembling “absolute autocratic power.”
Even the nation’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who rose to power with Erdogan, recently was summarily removed.
“Apparently Davutoglu was not obedient enough,” Richardson suggested.
He pointed to a national headline in Turkey stating Erdogan supporters were demanding “obedience to the leader.”
That kind of authority aligns with the concept of a caliphate, a Muslim state in which military, religious and political authority resides with one individual, the caliph.
“When a caliph comes into office, all Muslims are obligated to make the pledge of allegiance to him,” Richardson explained, “as long as he obeys and implements Shariah.”
That already is happening with Erdogan, who is supported by Islamic radicals in North Africa, Pakistan and other places.
Richardson said the development has implications for the end times prophesied in the Bible.
Richardson believes the prophesied Antichrist will come out of the region that includes Turkey.
“I’m not saying Erdogan is Gog [the Antichrist],” he said, but “he’s certainly emerging as a clear foreshadowing.”
“We need to be Bereans,” Richardson said, citing the figures in the New Testament praised for their careful study of Scripture.
WND reported unsettling developments after the coup.
At that time, Turkish forces were on the offense against the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, and Turkey was deal-making with Russia.
Meanwhile, Erdogan solidified his position following the failed coup, and his approval ratings reached new highs. In fact, the Turkish president has benefited so much from the abortive attempt to overthrow him, many observers suspect he staged the entire thing as a false flag operation.
Tensions between the United States and Turkey, meanwhile, continue to increase. The United States is reportedly transferring nuclear weapons out of Turkey to safeguard American control. Despite increasingly desperate American pleading, the United States has thus far been unable to stop Turkey’s war against the Syrian Kurds.
Carl Gallups, author of “Be Thou Prepared,” and the upcoming “When the Lion Roars: Understanding the Implications of Ancient Prophecies for Our Time,” says the healing of the Russo-Turkish rift is desirable on the surface, but some of the relevant interpretations of Scripture are cause for concern.
“Those who know the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 are aware of a very pointed declaration that in the last days, in the days of a miraculously returned Israel, Magog (many have believed to be Russia) would join with Persia (modern day Iran) and string several other nations along with them – for the purpose of attacking Israel,” Gallups explained. “The prophecies say the attack upon Israel will ‘come from the North.’ Turkey lies directly north of Israel. Additionally, a number of prophecy experts believe (based upon a large body of biblical and historical evidence) that Turkey itself could actually be the Magog (perhaps even in alliance with Russia) spoken of in Ezekiel 38.
“We know that lately Russia and Iran have been dramatically strengthening ties. The two nations have been standing together against ISIS in the Syrian civil war. Of course it is also Iran that has continually breathed out direct and very public threats of utterly destroying Israel, especially once Iran develops deliverable nuclear weapons. And, it is no secret that Russia has a history of nuclear involvement with Iran.”
Richardson said Turkey and Russia are working together out of economic convenience.
He noted: “Russia’s economy relies heavily on natural gas and oil exports. Turkey controls the Bosporus, and thus Russia’s access to the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, despite all of Putin’s chest thumping after Turkey shot down a Russian military jet, Russia needs Turkish cooperation.
“Likewise, Turkey relies heavily on the millions of Russian tourists who come to Turkey each year to enjoy the beautiful coasts. After Turkey shot down Russia jet and [the] president refused to apologize, Putin imposes stiff sanctions, and the lack of Russian tourism hit Turkey’s economy hard. Thus, despite all of the warm and fuzzy speeches about reconciliation, Russia and Turkey have simply returned to a shallow friendship of convenience for both of them.”
But while Richardson is relatively sanguine about the partnership between Turkey and Russia, he remains deeply concerned about the growing ambitions of Erdogan, whom he has compared to Adolf Hitler.
And the host of “The Coming Battle for Jerusalem” says the West has remained complacent for far too long about what he calls the “rise of a deeply nationalist-Islamist dictatorship in Turkey.”
“This is precisely what I have been warning of for well over twelve years now,” he said. “This is a nation that until recently been considered an ally of the United States and is a fellow member of NATO. After having suspended the constitution and purging tens of thousands of alleged coup plotters from every nook and cranny of both the government and the general public, Turkey has experienced a revolution. Whether we are comparing this to the Iranian Islamic revolution of 1979 or Hitler’s ‘Night of Long Knives,’ the analogies are merited.”
He continued: “In the long term, what is emerging in Turkey will continue to be a massive foreign policy conundrum that is going to require any future American administration a profound level of wisdom and skill to navigate. In the short term, the roughly 100,000 Iranian backed militia in Iraq is a far greater concern. With Iran stepping up its presence in the region – another event that I have been predicting for some time – a clash between Turkey and Iran is increasingly becoming a very real possibility.”
Richardson contends events are moving toward the end times but thinks a conflict between Iran and Turkey is the more likely short term outcome than a grand alliance against Israel.
“Is all of this aligning with the words of the biblical prophets?” he asks. “Absolutely. It’s just not aligning in quite the way that many have wrongly assumed.”
He noted that now, “under Erdogan, [Turkey] is quickly becoming an Islamic caliphate with dreams of becoming, once again, the hub of Middle Eastern Islamic power – a resurrected Ottoman Empire if you will.”
Erdogon has long appealed to the people of lands that historically were in the Ottoman Empire to legitimize his rule and imperial ambitions.
The London Mirror reported in July that Amnesty International says it has “credible evidence” Turkish police are holding detainees, denying them food, water and medical treatment and in the worst cases subjecting some to severe beatings and torture.