The man who fashions himself as the new sultan of a revived Ottoman Empire has big dreams, and one of them could well be to build an Islamic army against the state of Israel.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports it's the brainchild of one of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's closest advisors, and it looks like a blueprint for an Islamic military action against Israel.
CBN News has covered that MEMRI report which comes from a Turkish newspaper closely allied to Erdoğan and his ruling party.
The plan calls on the 57 Muslim nations to unite in a joint military operation against Israel. Such an army would be mammoth.
The strategy envisions staging areas near Israel's border from which an initial force of 250,000 soldiers would attack Israel.
Some biblical scholars believe Turkey will be part of an End Times alliance against Israel, foretold in prophecy in the book of Ezekiel.
CBN's Gordon Robertson cautions that Turkey's Erdoğan has been signaling to the world that he wants to restore an Islamic caliphate to wipe out Israel.
"Well, you look at the Bible, and you look at Ezekiel chapter 38, it talks about things like this. When Israel is at peace, well that's exactly the time when its neighbors will rise up to strike," Robertson said on the 700 Club.
"Lots of biblical scholars say that Gog and Magog list in that chapter (Ezekiel 38) is not Russia, it's Turkey," he said.
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While Erdoğan has been increasingly open about his plan to reshape Turkey into an Islamic state, former Turkish Parliament member Aykan Erdemir told CBN News he's skeptical Erdogan could pull off a united Islamic attack at this point.
"Erdoğan is a very complex individual and when it comes to Israel he compartmentalizes. On the one hand Israel is often at the top of his targets, rhetorically. But at the same time Erdogan manages to continue bilateral relations and trade," said Erdemir, who is now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Erdemir says Erdoğan is riding a populist wave based in part on scapegoating Israel and the United States for political points in his own country.
"Erdogan knows these kinds of stunts work really well at home," he said. "When we take a look at Turkish dailies and Turkish outlets that's where we see this egregious targeting of not only Israel but of Jews and Christians and other religious minorities."
After the Trump administration's official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Erdoğan turned up the anti-Israel rhetoric, calling Israel "a state of occupation and terrorism."
He has also turned on a fellow member of NATO - the United States - especially over US support for the Kurds, warning the Americans could get the "Ottoman slap."
"Erdogan continues to make threats against the US, accusing the US of being kind of the mastermind of a global conspiracy alongside Jews to undermine Turkey," Erdemir said.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan's regime has held American missionary pastor Andrew Brunson for more than 500 days on charges he was one of the masterminds in the 2016 attempt to overthrow the government.
The American Center for Law and Justice, which is assisting Brunson, calls that claim "ridiculous."
Erdemir agrees. "We argue that Pastor Brunson is basically a hostage, and Erdoğan uses him as a pawn. And so we are seeing the emergence of hostage diplomacy between Turkey and the US," he said.
Erdoğan's anti-US campaign has worked. Most Turkish citizens now believe the US is the number one threat to Turkey, just as an overwhelming majority are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.
Whether or not the plan for an Islamic Army to move against Israel is a serious threat at this point in history, the fact there are voices calling for such action is alarming.
And the fact that it comes from persons close to Erdoğan is even more alarming. Those voices in the Islamic world are not likely to go away.
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