The Second Fall of Constantinople

Whether we are speaking of the role of the nations in last days biblical prophecy, or merely analyzing current Middle East geopolitics from a secular perspective, understanding what is presently unfolding in Turkey is absolutely critical. For the past 20 years, American foreign policy has looked to Turkey as the model for what we would like to replicate throughout the region. Turkey, it was thought, was a model of success of a moderate Muslim nation. In fact, it was the Turkish model that was the inspiration behind President Obama’s dramatic shift in American foreign policy in the Middle East. Rather than dealing with various military strongmen and Middle-Eastern dictators who could maintain control over their people, the Obama administration began to seek the ouster of these various autocrats and looked to replace them with what they viewed as moderate Islamist government. The results of course have been beyond devastating. Undeniably, it can be said that Obama’s (and by extension Hillary’s) designs for the Middle East have produced the absolute chaos that we are now seeing throughout the world. Not only has it led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, but also the global refugee crisis, and worst of all, the increasing radicalization of large swaths of the Sunni world. Further demonstrating the folly of the Obama model, it has been during the past eight years of his administration that even Turkey itself has emerged as one of the most potentially dangerous Islamist nations in the world.

In the aftermath of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Ataturk is simply an honorific title meaning, “the father of the Turks”) established the Turkish Republic, he established a genius system of checks and balances guaranteeing that Turkey would never again become controlled by an Islamist government. If the government ever become too religious or oppressive, the military would step in and remove them. For most of the 20th century, it worked perfectly. Three times the military engaged in a coup and restored a more secular government to the nation. Since its inception in 2002 however, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has very gradually and patiently infiltrated nearly every nook and cranny of the government, including the military. It was, as it were, an Islamist coup from within. They did this through forming an alliance with a movement known as Hizmet, led by the Islamist preacher Fethullah Gulen. Gulen, a disciple of the Sufi preacher Said Nursi, preached a form of Islam that is very moderate and service orientated on the outside, but which has clear designs to take over through patiently infiltrating the entire system. Gulen has been famously quoted as once saying, “You must move within the arteries of the system, without anyone noticing your existence, until you reach all the power centers… You must wait until such time as you have got all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institution in Turkey.” As such, most of the AKP supporters were also Gulentists. The problem however, is that although Gulen founded the movement, he has been living in exile in rural Pennsylvania for decades. The current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rode Gulen’s success to the top. When government protests broke out in Turkey in 2013, Erdogan led the charge to respond violently. I can attest to this, as I was actually caught in the middle of the most violent government purge of the historic Taksim Square and Gezi park on June 14, 2013. That night the government purged over 10,000 protestors from Taksim square and then proceeded to tear gas and beat them with clubs as they sought to flee the square. We managed to duck into a hotel for about 45 minutes after which we found an opening and eventually escaped the chaos:

Taksim Square June 15, 2013 from Joel Richardson on Vimeo.

The next day, the crushing of the more secular leaning protestors was celebrated by his supporters. From Pennsylvania however, Gulen began criticizing Erdogan’s heavy hand. Erdogan, infuriated, began to lash out at Gulen, accusing him of seeking to overthrow the government and calling for his extradition for prosecution. This was followed by a purge of any within the government whose loyalty lay more with Gulen than with Erdogan. The very organization that facilitated Erdogan’s rise to power had now become a competitor. They had become the enemy.

The coup attempt this past weekend seems to have been one last desperate attempt by the residual Gulenist elements within the Turkish military to save the nation from Erdogan. It failed miserably, giving Erdogan and the AKP far more power than they had ever had to date. As such, many are now asking if the whole thing was a complete set-up and staged by Erdogan himself. While no one can say for sure, my assessment is that while the coup attempt was legitimate, the ruling AKP party had foreknowledge of what was about to unfold and used it to their advantage. Within hours of the coup attempt, the AKP had already removed nearly 3000 judges. Obviously, the lists were ready long before the coup attempt. Over the past couple of days, there have been over 10,000 various government or military officials either fired or arrested. Many have been noting the similarities of the failed Turkish coup with the infamous Reichstag fire, which Adolph Hitler used as an excuse to purge his government of any potential dissenters. The comparison seems entirely fair.

In the west, various commentators have been celebrating the victory of the AKP government as a triumph of democracy in Turkey. Numerous videos from within the nation however do not show the AKP supporters chanting about the victory of democracy, instead, they are chanting, “Allah Bismillah, Allahu Akbar!”

In one video AKP supporters actually cut the throat of a soldier on the Bosphorus Bridge as they shout, “Allahu Akbar.” It is important to note that just ten years ago, shouts of the Arabic phrase. “Allahu Akbar” in Turkey, even among more Islamist-leaning Turks, would be extremely rare. Turks pride themselves in being above what they see as the barbaric and uncultured Arabs. No more. The overtly Islamist sentiment expressed by the ruling party and its supporters should be deeply troubling to the whole world.

What is also fascinating to note is that within Islamic apocalyptic, there is a prophecy that says that Constantinople, (now called Istanbul) would be conquered by the Mahdi, not through military action, but simply through shouts of, “Takbir” (Allahu Akbar). Surely for the increasingly apocalyptically minded Muslim world, this prophecy my be seen as having been fulfilled in our midst. Kemalism has finally breathed its last gasp. Turkey has fallen to the Islamists. Erdogan is one step closer to his goal of becoming the Caliph of the Muslim world.

  • Carol Edwards
    Posted at 16:45h, 18 July

    Thanks once again for your in depth assessments about the role of Turkey in our future. Will keep in prayer the Father’s continued plan for you and your family as you are truly a watchman on the wall. Carol

  • Willem van den Heuvel
    Posted at 17:07h, 18 July

    First, sinds yesterday i have been visiting joelstrumpet to see your vision on current events. Thank you very much.
    Reading your tekst, a few questions came up. Hitler invaded Austria and Poland and had the Jews to blame. Which country will be taken and who will be crushed as being the blamed ones? Erdogan can send its military to Syria and maybe Irak as a peace keeping force and to keep them busy. And are there any Christians left to be blamed? Or will it be the Shiites? Can it still be stopped by the West? What do you think?
    Can you tell us more on the difference between the Turks now and 10 years back?

  • Tom
    Posted at 17:48h, 18 July

    Thank you for your analysis of this Joel. I trust your views more than anyone because you have Christian contacts and a heart for that area. As a Christian following the prophetic times we are in, I long for accurate analysis (news) from the middle east where all things will eventually culminate. God Bless you and praying for your friends from that region.

  • Marcus Maddox
    Posted at 17:51h, 18 July

    I’m concerned about our nuclear weapons at a Turkish air base. Does anyone know about the situation there now. Also is it time we move those weapons out of Turkey ?

  • Kathy Phillips
    Posted at 18:19h, 18 July

    Thank you, Joel, for posting this. I always appreciate your insights and sound Biblical perspective. You have continually told us to keep our eyes on Turkey. What we just witnessed may be a big step forward toward the culmination of the end time events. May we be found faithful. Bless you and your family.

  • linda keyes
    Posted at 19:11h, 18 July

    Erdagon appears to hold all the aces,blackmailing Europe over the migrant issue and the U.S over this Mr Gulen, of whom I and others had never heard off.

    Maybe this will be time Turkey will leave the UN. Don’t want to be out of my depth, but if Erdagon turns on the west, he will be I think be a hero in the middle East, easily gaining mass islamic support.

    I know you take Dan 8 as fully futuristic Joel, and it may well be.
    Im just thinking this puts Mr E in a massive place of power in the middle East, making way for a mid East super power forming the ten kings in the not to distant future, making way for the a.c and the plucking up of three of them. Only my thoughts. What ever happens,we are nearing the end.

    Thanks for including us ordinary folk.

  • Gabe
    Posted at 19:54h, 18 July

    In line with Third Reich parallels, if the failed coup was akin to the Reichstag Fire, then what’s following with the Gulenist purge and the reinstatement of the death penalty may parallel the Night of the Long Knives.

  • Carlos
    Posted at 21:34h, 18 July

    Marcus: Turkey has a nuclear power plant under construction since last year. Its completion is predicted in 2023. So far only Pakistan and Iran have these facilities. Like Iran they will soon have their own nuclear nukes, it`s only a matter of time. By the way, one of the iranian balistic missiles it`s called Sejil or Sejjil, Persian: سجیل , a Quranic word meaning “baked clay”.

  • Joshua Godsey
    Posted at 21:34h, 18 July

    Fascinating. Thanks for historical background concerning Turkish politics, as well as insight into Gulen/Erdogan. I had not known.

  • Dave
    Posted at 23:19h, 18 July

    Thank you Joel, excellent article putting the pieces of the puzzle together with current events, political elements, & prophecy. We need you consulting our next president! Do you have a go to source for reading up on the Islamic eschatology?

  • Tim Bertram
    Posted at 23:26h, 18 July

    I’ve been looking forward to your take on the situation. Thank you. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.

  • Peter Hartgerink
    Posted at 23:55h, 18 July

    Joel, thanks for connecting the dots. I had seen some of the connections but not all. The prophecy about the Mahdi and Constantinople is particularly telling. Praying.

  • Jacob
    Posted at 00:16h, 19 July

    Their goal has been to become the Head of the new Caliphate by 2023, 7 years from now.

  • Bobby E Hart
    Posted at 01:14h, 19 July

    Joel is on solid Biblical ground in acknowledging the rise of the Antichrist in Turkey. Erdogan is emerging as a strong political leader. Turkey or Magog will soon take advantage of the chaos in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt to establish it’s supremacy over the Middle East.

  • doug peete
    Posted at 03:49h, 19 July

    thx Joel- when I learned of the situation Friday night I immediately wondered what you were thinking in regards to the implications of this. Your article clarifies the situation unlike almost everything else I have read. We appreciate the continued guidance .

  • Gary Chappelle
    Posted at 13:01h, 19 July

    Thanks for the update Joel.

    I found myself bewildered by some geopolitical analysts last night stating that Turkey and Russia would now form an alliance (I guess it was reported that Erdogan and Putin would be meeting soon).

    However, aren’t Turkey and Russia on different sides of the Syria regime? It may be that they may form some kind of alliance in the future, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon, but maybe I am missing something.

    Anyway, I always look forward to your updates and appreciate you.

  • Sean Martin
    Posted at 16:53h, 19 July

    Very informative. The news reports that I saw did not explain who Gulan was. Thank you.

  • Gabriel Cormack
    Posted at 16:56h, 19 July

    It’s all unfolding Christ is near I’m willing to bet without date setting that Christ might even be present on the earth within the next decade at least I’m hoping so God bless Joel!

  • Geri Ann
    Posted at 19:25h, 19 July

    I know you don’t consider yourself a prophet Joel…but I think the prophesy over you many years ago, tell different! I as well as the others will continue to pray for you and yours.

    Things are not falling apart…they are falling into place.

    Come King Jesus!

  • Marcus Maddox
    Posted at 21:21h, 19 July

    Thanks for responding but I mean the US bombs which we store at an air base in Turkey. We do this also with other NATO allies.
    I would hate to have to try to get those back after the fact.
    I think I’m going to start praying about that.
    I think there are about 50 there, at least that was what I read. I don’t think we can be too careful these days. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I don’t think so.

  • sandra
    Posted at 22:51h, 19 July

    Hello Joel,
    Thank you for this article.
    “while the coup attempt was legitimate, the ruling AKP party had foreknowledge of what was about to unfold and used it to their advantage” That is what experts say here too.

    The turkish president causes uprises here and there in Europe too, he does that, bij his evocations to the european turks. He brings it outside his borders. Wow how diplomatique and grown up.

    Do you have any idea why the european leaders don’t condemn this? I can think of some leaders (and in the past), if they would act like this all leaders in de whole world would speak up immediately and will haste to condemn. It is like they are afraid of this president. What do they want with him/have to gain with him? What does he want with them?

  • Joel
    Posted at 23:12h, 19 July

    He has them at his disposal. If he wills, he will open the spigot of refugees from Turkey into Europe. He is the gatekeeper and is using this power as a blackmail.

  • sandra
    Posted at 23:35h, 19 July

    It is too bad, that the leaders let his blackmail work, in spite of the hugeness of the refugeeproblem.

  • Lisa
    Posted at 04:18h, 20 July

    Thank you Joel! I trust what you say as true and we are indeed in the end times. Every time I start to question, things happen. Things are happening so fast. I’m thankful to have you to help me understand, for it is very complicated.

  • Jonathan VanLoan
    Posted at 01:28h, 21 July

    Why not invite Gulen to do the Underground?

  • Joel
    Posted at 02:22h, 21 July

    He’s very difficult to land any interviews with.

  • Peter Verschoor
    Posted at 22:31h, 21 July

    Great explanations Joel,

    Look forward to your next talks.

    Peter Verschoor from Holland

  • Margie Zachariou
    Posted at 01:17h, 22 July

    Thank you, Joel…I’ve been anticipating what light you would bring to the situation since last week…my adult children, also. We pray for you and your family, the missionaries to the Muslim areas, and ‘stand in the gap’, praying for national repentance for the USA, per Dan. 9.

  • sandra
    Posted at 15:48h, 22 July

    Russia en Turkey are friends now, ‘rumours’ go that Russia warned Turkey for the upcoming coup. Turkey arrested the two pilots who took the russian jet down (to which erdogan gave order …)
    He made a choice: Russia is a better option (not the Eu) that is why he is kicking around so much, he does not care anymore, does not want to ‘behave’ : he made a choice for Russia (and Iran): and vice versa.

    How do you see that; Russia and Turkey together? (like now)

    It gives me the shivers

    Are they going to stand against eachother in a later time?

    Keep up your very good work Joel, it is so valuable what you do and you should take some rest too sometimes, and blessings to you & your family.

  • sandra
    Posted at 15:50h, 22 July

    Peter, I’m from Holland too, you can probably read that from my English 🙂 You should hear it, it sounds like ‘louis van gaal’.

  • Joel
    Posted at 17:00h, 22 July

    These are always alliances of convenience, but they do not eliminate the fact that deeper tensions exist. The occupants of Turkey and Iran have been in conflict for thousands of years.

  • David
    Posted at 04:50h, 23 July

    Do you see the significance of Erdoğan once again proposing plans to build the “Taksim sultan mosque” last month? (June 2016)

    Also being called described (by hurriyetdailynews) “This would be a “Selatin” mosque, which typically glorified victorious sultans after their conquests.”

    Since the failed coup Erdoğan has once again reiterated his plans saying
    “The project is ready; we will build Taksim Mosque behind the historical walls in Taksim”
    quote from

  • sandra
    Posted at 16:02h, 26 July

    Yes I thought so. I was surprised though! But this ‘friendship’ will not last long.

  • Marc
    Posted at 18:08h, 27 July

    Debka file has a troubling article concerning our airbase in Turkey with the Nukes:

  • Allison
    Posted at 04:13h, 28 July

    Joel, can you please comment on Gulen’s role in and what we as Christians should be aware of regarding his group’s charter schools here in our country?

  • sandra
    Posted at 16:25h, 29 July

    Joel, thanks for your reaction on my question from about 10 days ago.
    I did some searching. European citizens became more and more pro-putin and anti-muslim. So NATO and US thinkthanks gathered and came up with the ‘Merkel-plan’. (Merkel was not involved, she had to communicate it afterwards). To create some sort of chaos. In the past years yes it was noticable -at least here in this country- that appreciation for Putin was growing, and appreciation for the States was decreasing. Since government-trolls follow the discussions on fora (it is a payed job for people with a university degree), they noticed too, not just here but throughout Europe. The thinktanks operated with the goals they have operated with in the past history, to inhibit communism, to inhibit or divide countries that became too powerful. Well, they set op a document, ‘the Merkel-plan’ and Germany had to give access to at least half a million refugees (but about a million came in, great, if they would be all refugees) , they had to be registred in Turkey first, and Turks would get free visum and Turkey money in exchange. The thinktanks made the plan up as ‘in the advantage of Europe and Turkye’ , but the motivation was: inhibiting the threat of the growing sympathy for putin and the growing antipathy for islam. Well, I know you probably know all this, but I found it ‘decent’ to say, since I came here with questions and took some of your time. I like to ‘report back’. The guy who explains this is journalist W. Engdahl. (should someone wants to know more).

    Bless you.

  • Graham Veart
    Posted at 11:34h, 31 July

    Hi Joel, thank you for your insights.You may not remember, but several years ago i was part of the group that brought you to Perth western Australia. The things happening now are truly part of Gods unfolding plan. please continue being a voice to a very skeptical church and world. am continuing to hold you in prayer.Hate Islam, love the Muslim. God richly bless you. Graham

  • Joel
    Posted at 13:50h, 31 July

    Bless you Graham!

  • Steve E
    Posted at 00:10h, 15 August

    I have recently come to know of you and your end times scenario with the involvement of Islam. I must say that your views appear to be more scripturally based than any I have seen in the 17 years I have been saved and examining such things.
    What English version of the Quran would you recommend as my desire is to minister to the Muslim community.
    I pray that your ministry continues to bear fruit and educate the church and the Muslim community.

  • Joel
    Posted at 01:00h, 15 August

    Hi Steve,

    The most common is going to be either Ali or Pickthall. I have found Muhammad Mohsin Khan’s translation to be the best Muslim translation. Its slightly like the Amplified Bible. The best and most accurate though, written by an Egyptian Christian, is the Generous Qur’an by Osama Dakdok. Get that for sure. But do not use that to minister to Muslims. Its good to use if you want truth and debate etc.

  • donal
    Posted at 03:41h, 15 August

    The best english version of quran would be (google and type interlinear quran)

  • Jack
    Posted at 20:29h, 19 August

    Hi Joel,

    Thanks for your take on this. I’m curious about your view of Obama. You do realise that the strong men were all brutally repressing civilians and torturing anyone that they distrusted? The repression of the Arab people by these regimes supported by America and armed by America had contributed hugely to the rise of terrorism and anti western hatred in the region. Al Qaeda made reference to this in their statements when talking about the Pharoes. So Obam’s wish to see a more democratic alternative wasn’t inappropriate. Bush also wanted to install a democracy in Iraq by force. That didn’t work. But Obama had the sense to support common uprisings expressing the people. I agree that this hasn’t worked out the way anyone wanted, but it seems harsh to lay the current problems at his door. The refugee crises is arguably also caused by Obama NOT intervening in the Syrian civil war with ground troops. I don’t imagine had he done so anyone would have greeted Americans as savious, and you’d just have more body bags to bury in the USA as terrorists rallied the extremists against the US military.

    I think the ME is one region where the USA can’t win. Whatever you do is goung to be damned and rejected.

  • Joel
    Posted at 20:57h, 19 August

    There is no question that the present calamity in the region began before Obama. The Iraq war was a massive mistake. Obama however, has certainly exacerbated things rather horrifically. Under his admin, he did far more than merely support popular uprisings for secular democracy. He pushed for moderate Sunni Islamist governments. Notice he did nothing to support the real uprising the Green Movement in Iran. Yet he authorized a full blown bombing campaign in Libya against the government, which resulted in Qaddafi being murdered and raped by a rifle in the streets and the nation being taken over by ISIS. Likewise in Egypt, I have yet to meet an Egyptian who believes that Morsi and the Ikhwan legitimately won the election after the first revolution. Everyone believes this was America placing the Brotherhood in power. Yet when the people took to the streets in the most raw form of democracy, Obama bristled and only very grudgingly has accepted Sisi. While the various strong men indeed did and do commit human rights atrocities, they pale in comparison to the emerging Islamist governments throughout the region. Assad may be a dictator, but throughout his regime, various minorities lived in relative harmony. Christians, Druzes, Alawites, Sunnis, Shites. As my Christian friends from Damascus said, “We would rather have the boot of Assad on our neck then the sword of Jabhat al-Nursra.” So one might try to say that Obama was merely trying to remove the dictators, but the fact is that he did much more than that. He made a deliberate effort to put Brotherhood operatives into the US government.

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