As Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, continues to consolidate power in the formerly secular nation, one of the foremost experts on Middle East geopolitics is sounding a desperate warning.

Erdogan is just getting started.

“I’ve been saying this for 12 years,” said Joel Richardson, New York Times bestselling author of “The Islamic Antichrist” and “Mideast Beast.” “I’ve said for years: ‘Watch Turkey. Watch Turkey. It’s going to become a radical nationalist Islamist nation.'”

Richardson made the comments on a recent episode of the “Shaun Tabatt Show” as the author discussed his newest book, “Mystery Babylon.” Though Richardson believes Saudi Arabia and its city of Mecca is the real “Mystery Babylon,” he says Turkey is turning out to be an end times actor in its own right, and the tensions between the Sunni Islamic powers of Turkey and Saudi Arabia will shape the Middle East in the coming years.

Richardson’s warning of an Islamist, anti-democratic Turkey is now widely accepted among geopolitical analysts, many of whom are deeply concerned the NATO nation, once spoken of as a potential member of the European Union, is being systematically transformed into an anti-Western power.

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“The silence of the world’s great democracies as the Middle East’s one great democracy slips toward authoritarianism has been deafening for Turks,” wrote Elliot Ackerman in Foreign Policy. Steven Cook suggested in the same publication Erdogan’s recent election victory means the end of modern Turkey itself, as Erdogan derives more inspiration from the Ottoman Empire than the secular, democratic values of Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.

As Dexter Filkins noted in the New Yorker, Erdogan was once viewed as a reformer in the Islamic world whom “every leader in the West wanted … to succeed.” Now, however, he has essentially brought “Turkish democracy to an end.”

Richardson, who has closely followed Middle East politics in his effort to spread the Gospel in the region and who chronicled rising Turkish nationalism in his film “End Times Eyewitness,” sees a deeper pattern unfolding as Erdogan continues his rise: something embedded within the pages of Scripture. He argues Turkey and Iran are on a path to conflict, and it will be Turkey that will eventually lead a coalition of Islamic nations against Israel.

“I believe Turkey is going to lead this coming Antichrist coalition,” he said.

One of the greatest mysteries in Scripture – solved at last! Discover the terrifying truth behind the shadowy identity of one of the greatest horrors of the end times. New York Times bestselling author Joel Richardson reveals the secret of “Mystery Babylon.” Available now in the WND Superstore.

However, though Saudi Arabia and Turkey are currently working together to confront the Shiite power of Iran, Richardson argues conflict between the two powers is inevitable.

“Why would Turkey be in conflict with Saudi Arabia?” he asked rhetorically. “They’re actually uniting right now against Iran. Well, the reason is because historically Turkey, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, controlled the Middle East for 500 years. … And they have a long memory. They believe that the Saudis, they just made up this kingdom, they have no history of being kings, they just said ‘we’re kings,’ the Turks feel as if they’ve taken their property.

“In many ways, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the competing Sunni alpha dogs of the region. Egypt is sort of the intellectual head of the Sunni world … but in terms of who would lead, it’s really down to those two.”

Richardson ventured specific geopolitical predictions on the “Shaun Tabatt Show” for believers to watch for.

“I believe that Turkey will eventually conquer Iran, and Iran will come under the sway of this emerging Turkish neo-Ottoman empire,” he said.

“The Turks want to revive the empire that ruled the Middle East for 500 years. And I believe that in the midst of that, the Saudis, who are in league with the United States, are going to be a tremendous roadblock to Turkey re-establishing the historical caliphate, the Islamic form of government. And it’s for that reason that I think eventually we’ll see Turkey, and all the nations that come under her sway, eventually turn on Saudi Arabia, and as the prophecy says, devour her and burn her body with fire.”

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Though Turkey is in the headlines today, Richardson claims it is Saudi Arabia that is ultimately at the heart of the spiritual challenge facing Christians, as it contains the city of Mecca. In his newest book, Richardson identifies “Mystery Babylon” as Mecca, which he calls the “greatest city of paganism in human history.”

“‘Babylon the Great’ is primarily two things,” explained Richardson. “It is a religious entity, a corrupt, religiously corrupting influence and an economic influence. Religiously speaking, Mecca is the greatest city of idolatry ever known, 1.26 billion people bowing five times a day toward that idol, known as the Kaaba, with its black meteorite embedded into the corner, shrouded with a black shroud in the same way that Muslim women are covered. You can look at the various worship that goes around the Kaaba … and it is dripping with paganism. The whole practice of circumambulation, thoroughly Hindu and Buddhist practices, you don’t see that anywhere in the Bible.”

Richardson argues ominous symbolism identified with Islam can even be found in the Bible.

“The very symbol of the crescent moon, of course,” Richardson said. “You can go back into the Bible when Gideon killed Zebah and Zalmunna, these pagan Midianite kings. What were they wearing? They were wearing crescent moon symbols.”

Richardson further explained the famous passage in Isaiah 14, which refers to a “morning star,” often is interpreted to be Lucifer as the “crescent moon.”

“Satan himself is referred to biblically by the crescent moon,” said Richardson. “This is the very symbol that Muslims worship on top of mosques, etc.”

As an increasing number of intelligence reports confirm, Saudi Arabia is funding extremists and terrorist movements around the world.

“When you look at al-Qaida, you look at ISIS, Boko Haram, Abu Sayyaf, Al-Shabaab, any of these radical groups, the Taliban … they find their ideological genesis in Saudi Arabia,” said Richardson. “They find their financing from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the fountain, is the womb of all of this bloodshed we’re seeing all over the earth. Christians disappearing from the Middle East, being attacked in Europe. Where does it come from? It comes from Saudi Arabia.”

Ultimately, Richardson predicts Turkey will destroy Saudi Arabia. Yet the real threat to Christians, spiritually and physically, is not a particular state, but the religion of Islam itself.

“Islam is not simply just another false religion in a series,” Richardson said. “Islam is actually the mother of all false religions. It is the greatest numerically in terms of its impact. In human history, there has not been another false religion as large as Islam. But it is also in many ways that perfect Antichrist, the perfect counterfeit religion.”

One of the greatest mysteries in Scripture – solved at last! Discover the terrifying truth behind the shadowy identity of one of the greatest horrors of the end times. New York Times bestselling author Joel Richardson reveals the secret of “Mystery Babylon,” available now in the WND Superstore.

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