Turkey, a one time strategic partner of Israel, is becoming more authoritarian and islamic in public and religious life. Such a transition has led to inevitable consequences within Turkey but now more demonstrably across the Middle East and the alliances Ankara is forming to further its regional aspirations.
Background: We have previously analysed and commented upon the growth of a more orthodox islamic stance underway in Turkey. You can read those articles by clicking on the following links:
In recent days, a number of key Gulf states have cut ties with Qatar, citing the Qatari's leadership endorsement and funding of terrorist organisations across the Middle East. Saudi authorities claim that alleged recipients of Qatari money and support include Hamas, Hizbollah, Al-Queda and the Muslim Brotherhood.
All these groups are bitterly opposed to what they perceive as the corrupt hegemony of the Saud dynasty and Wahabism, an orthodox form of Islam, rooted in the Arabian Peninsula.
Lurking behind these terror organisations, is the ever present supportive shadow of Iran. No doubt, the Gulf move against Qatar was intended as indirect snub to the Shia leadership of Tehran and a warning too.
And into this crisis, Turkey now steps as the comforter of Qatar's 'plight'.
Turkey's President Erdogan has been quick to stand with Qatar. Recent 'humanitarian aid' has been shipped to ease up some of the pressures Qatar feels but no doubt to increase Erdogan's standing as an influential player in the current Middle East political landscape.
Also, these groups have been courted favourably at one time or another by Turkey and perhaps Erdogan's posturing with Qatar is intended as a signal to them of where his allegiances lie.
Turkey has made no attempt to hide what it feels is its right to reassert itself as a regional superpower, believing with messianic fervour in a revived Ottoman Empire.
How that will be played out in terms of territorial assets on the ground is yet to be seen. But make no mistake, acquiring assets on the ground is Turkey's end game and must be if it is to realise its glorious Ottoman vision.
Siding with Qatar in this latest spate with Gulf states will show to those countries that Turkey is to be taken seriously and any redrawing of the Middle East, post-ISIS, must involve input from Ankara.
Turkish Interference In Israel
Furthermore, the influence of Turkey among the mindset of Palestinians grows daily. Much energy has been devoted by Erdogan in bolstering the narrative of an all-Islamic Jerusalem; negating historical Jewish claims whilst financing groups in East Jerusalem that undermine Israeli sovereignty and promote an exclusively islamic approach to the city and its future.
That Jerusalem was once under the Ottoman Empire is a truth not lost on Turkey's current leadership. In financing Islamic factions in Israel through its NGO's to the goals mentioned above, Erdogan sees such a strategy as bringing a future Jerusalem closer to its restoration as a neo-Ottoman asset.
It is unclear how Erdogan views the Palestinian nationalist hopes beyond what he senses he can make personal capital out of, viz-a-viz, "what's in it for me and Turkey." Palestinians should have concerns over this; that taking from the hand that feeds them may ultimately be the hand that waves them away on any final status talks.
In the coming prophetic scenarios, this is not far-fetched; all things are possible.
And so, the islamisation of Jerusalem very much mirrors the process that has been transforming Turkish society since the ascent of Erdogan to power in 2003.
Pray for the Turkish people, once a very influential part of Christendom, with the vein of faith running back to apostolic times. There is much persecution and marginalising of Christians in Turkey today and this is likely to only increase if the islamisation trend continues.
Many still monitor Turkey for the potential role it could play in the Gog Magog prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and an invasion of a stable Israel, dwelling in relative peace.
Turkey looks the more likely candidate that best fits the geopolitical and spiritual power described in those apocalyptic passages but more will have to develop politically in the region to make any absolute statements.
For now, we like others, watch and wait to see the next stage of Ankara's strategy to unfold whilst maintaining our hope that "all things are working together for good for them that love God."