Historically, the nations of Turkey and Iran have not been close. Iranians, by and large, are ethnically Persian and religiously Shia Muslims. Turks are neither ethnically Persian nor Arab, and religiously they are generally Sunni Muslims, who see the world dramatically differently than do Shias. Under the Ottoman Empire, Turkey was the seat of the Islamic kingdom or “caliphate.” Iran has never been the seat of the caliphate.
What’s more, for nearly a century since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, modern Turkey has been a model of Reformer Islam. It has been pro-Western, pro-democracy, a NATO ally, a friend of Israel, a friend of the U.S., and in recent decades desirous of joining the European Union. Iran, at least since the 1979 Islamic Revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, has been the leader of Radical Islam, and more recently apocalyptic Twelver Shia Islam.
Yet now, despite millennia of deep differences, Iran and Turkey are becoming more than friends. They appear to be becoming strategic allies. And they are becoming allies at the same time that they are forming strategic alliances with Russia, and just as they are growing increasingly hostile and threatening towards Israel, just as Ezekiel 38-39 indicates will happen in the “last days” before the “War of Gog and Magog” begins. Consider these recent headlines:
- Turkish FM: Iran-Turkey ties, important for regional stability
- Salehi seeks Iran-Iraq-Turkey-Syria alliance for regional security
- Turkey’s alliance with Iran is a threat to world peace
- The New Anti-Western Alliance: Iran, Turkey and Brazil
- Iran-Turkey-Syria: An Alliance of Convenience
- Inevitable Iran-Turkey-Syria-Russia Alliance