Few Westerners have paid much attention until now, but the Islamic State has put the people and leaders of Turkey — and particularly Istanbul, which for centuries served as the seat of the Islamic kingdom or “Caliphate” — in its crosshairs.
- On August 9, 2015, the Islamic State put a photograph of Turkish President Recip Erdogan on the cover of Issue #11 of its recruiting magazine, Dabiq, putting the Turkish leader on notice that he is being targeted by the jihadist movement. In one of the articles, ISIS denounced “the apostate regime and army of Turkey.”The editors then added: “We ask Allah to support the mujahedeen [fighters of jihad] of the Islamic State against the agents of [the infidels] until the banner of the Caliphate is raised high above Istanbul….”
- Also last August, ISIS released a video calling on Muslims to “revolt” against Erdogan. In the video, an unidentified speaker says that Erdogan “did not rule by the laws of God. He befriended Americans, Jews, crusaders, atheist PKK members, Atatürk’s secular friends, the FSA and the apostate spies of the (Saudi Arabian) Saud family.”
Ironically, Erdogan (pronounced “AIR-do-wan”) is an increasingly dangerous and authoritarian Islamist himself, and a rising threat to the West, as I noted in a column
last month. He is cracking down on journalists who criticize him. He’s building close ties with the terrorist leaders of Iran. He provides safe haven for Hamas terror leaders. He has also been allowing foreign fighters cross through Turkey for years to join ISIS and other jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq and, for the most part, turning a blind eye to their presence.
These are some of reasons Turkey plays a key role in my new novel series, including a terrorist bombing in the heart of Istanbul in The Third Target
But as a member of NATO, a long-time ally of the U.S., and a cooperating partner in the European Union economy, Erdogan isn’t nearly Radical enough for the leaders of ISIS. Nor does Erdogan share the fanatic End Times theology driving the leaders of ISIS.
In recent months, therefore, ISIS is believed to have been responsible for planning a series of terrorist attacks in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey, though some (fortunately) have been foiled. Earlier this year, for example:
So far, however, ISIS has not formally claimed responsibility.
Meanwhile, the death toll keeps climbing. As of 5pm
local time on Wednesday, there were 41 confirmed deaths
, as well as at least 239 people wounded. Also dead are the three terrorists involved in the operation, two of whom detonated suicide bombing vests after opening fire with automatic weapons.
Please pray for Turkey.
- Pray for the Lord to comfort & heal all those injured in & traumatized by the attacks.
- Pray for the Lord to comfort the families and friends of all those who were killed.
- Pray for Turkish authorities to get serious in defeating ISIS and protecting their people — and foreign guests, businesspeople, tourists, etc — rather than allowing ISIS fighters to transit the country with a free hand.
- Pray for the Church in Turkey to be bold, loving, compassionate servants to the Turkish people.
- Pray for the Gospel to be proclaimed to every person in Turkey that they may find the hope, peace, healing, comfort, forgiveness and eternal life only available through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.