Turkey welcomes Putin to talk trade, not war

Turkey

Kurdish-held Kobani (in yellow-green) would be surrounded by ISIS (in dark grey) if Turkey (in light grey) gave ISIS full access. Image by NordNordWest

PRAYER ALERT: On Monday, the day after Pope Francis’ historic visit to Turkey, Russian President Putin arrived to meet with Turkish President Erdogan. The two nations have strong economic ties. Russia supplies Turkey with most of its natural gas. It plans to build Turkey’s first nuclear plant. But they are opposed over the war in Syria, Turkey’s neighbor. Russia is Syrian President Assad’s main ally. Sunni-dominated Turkey seeks the downfall of Assad, a Shiite-aligned Alawite Muslim. But who would replace Assad? Who does Turkey support? On these questions Turkey is unclear.

Turkey has reportedly allowed Sunnis to cross its border to join ISIS. But in late October, under pressure from the US, it began letting Kurds cross the border to fight ISIS. Then on November 25 Erdogan, a once-friendly US partner, suddenly started railing against US pressures “from 12,000 kilometers away.”

Turkey

Campaign poster for Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (by Myrat)

He said of Western allies, “They look like friends, but they want us dead. They like seeing our children die. How long will we stand that fact? Only we can solve our problems. I speak openly; foreigners love oil, gold, diamonds, and the cheap labor force of the Islamic world. They like the conflicts, fights and quarrels of the Middle East.” He blames those conflicts on the West.

Now Kurdish activists say that Turkey is defying its agreements with the US and openly supporting ISIS. They claim that on November 29 ISIS launched a suicide attack from Turkey into Kobani, Syria. They say ISIS is launching more attacks from grain silos on the Turkish side. The Turkish government denounces such claims as lies.

Russia supports Assad as Syria’s most effective bulwark against ISIS. But Assad is also a bulwark against Erdogan’s ambitions to establish a Sunni caliphate in Syria. Will Turkey’s trade ties with Russia, and military ties with NATO, hold Turkey back from making moves on Syria?

PRAY WITH US: Father God, we glorify the Trinity. You are one with the Son and one with the Holy Spirit. This is a mystery far too vast for us to comprehend. Yet You have called us to be one with the Trinity and one with each other. It is only by Your Spirit that we can begin to understand and fulfill this call. Forgive us for times that we have departed from Your Spirit and misunderstood who You are. Forgive us for times that we have divided instead of united in humbly searching out Your Word. Forgive us for the Great Schism which persists to this very day.

You have a way to bridge that divide. A day will come when “we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph. 4:13). Thank You for moving Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I in that direction. Bring every true Christian into the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Let the power of our agreement with You demolish the arguments of false brothers and false religions.

When we pray for, or in the presence of, Muslims and other unbelievers, cause their carnal weapons to perish. Let Your divine weapons prosper. Cause their words to fall to the ground and Your Word to stand. Let it be said again the “all who lived in Asia [now Turkey and environs] heard the word of the Lord.” Let Christian refugees carry that word with power as did the first century refugees from Jerusalem. Hold back Turkey and ISIS’ plans for a caliphate. Roll back the conquests of the Islamic sword. Release the victories of the Cross. Arise on Your people, and let Your enemies be scattered. Shine on Your people, that nations may come to Your light. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Related sources for Turkey: 

As Putin visits, Russia and Turkey to downplay differences, focus on economic ties

Activists say ISIS moves to Kobani from Turkey

See tags on Turkey: Pope Francis, Putin, Erdogan, Russia, Syria, Assad, ISIS, Kurds, US, Sunni Muslims, Kobani, NATO, caliphate, Jesus

Turkey blames the West for Middle East conflicts

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