17 people are confirmed injured and the news is reporting that some are critical so the number might go up.
14 + 17 = 31
31 persons killed or wounded celebrating the holidays with no—legal—way to defend themselves. It is unclear how many people were at the party but if one person had a gun, the outcome could have been a lot different. Just another example of how gun control kills people. Murder is a crime. Criminals do it anyway.
Some are suggesting this was terrorism. While there are no “known” links at this time, ISIS is celebrating the shootings carried out by at least one devout Muslim. We live in a heightened state of alert. It is time for true common sense approach: let Americans defend themselves.
Yesterday we had all the proof we need that gun control does not work—sadly 31 reasons.
With the downing of a Russian fighter plane that crossed into Turkish airspace, the Cold War is back between Russia and the West with Turkey, once again, playing a pivotal role in the conflict. However, this incident, I believe, marks the beginning of the end of Turkey as we know it. The key to this understanding is looking at this from the broader perspective of where Turkey fits in the Islamic spectrum.
Brief History of Turkey
This video does it much better than I could.
But to pull a major threat alluded to in the video and elaborated on in the classic book by the esteemed Middle East historian, Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong?, Turkey shifted towards Europe and the West. Ataturk switched the script from right-to-left to left-to-right and in so doing began the alignment of Turkey towards Europe instead of the Middle East. This alignment was complete with Turkey’s ascension into NATO.
Turkey’s Involvement in NATO
Turkey joined NATO alongside Greece in 1952. There were two strategic goals to both of these inclusions. For Greece, the country was recovering from what some call the first clash between Capitalism and Communism as Greek communists were attempting to take over the country. Including Greece into NATO legitimized the ruling government, provided stability for the people and—most importantly—provided a strong signal to the Soviet Union their intervention would be met with force.
Turkey’s inclusion into the union had two important geopolitical ramifications. First, NATO was concerned about communist activity in the Middle East, specifically Iran, and Turkey’s entrance provided NATO engagement and basing opportunities should communism creep up their “southern flank.” Second, the Soviet Union does not have a warm water port. This is a source of anxiety for any Soviet/Russian leader. The only way for Russian ships to transit from the Black Sea are through two natural straits connecting the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea: the Bosphorus and Dardanelles.
According to the Wikipedia article, the Bosphorus Straits are the narrowest, internationally navigable water channel in the world. They are so narrow that only a chain is needed to impeed ships from crossing them.
Yet, it is these two channels that provide Russia her easiest access to warm water.
Turkey’s inclusion into NATO meant that these two straits would be continuously monitored for Soviet ship movement and provide NATO easy access to block Soviet ship movement in the event of hostilities.
Ergodan’s Turkey and Turkey’s Demise
A BBC article highlights the importance of Ergodan’s rule in Turkey as
harbouring a secret agenda to turn Turkey into a fundamentally conservative Muslim society.
And here is a Guardian posting providing more details on Ergodan’s rise in power with some caveats.
However, the point is that under Ergodan, Turkey is enjoying immense staying power, even if his calls for Assad to step down have been rebuffed by the world and Russia as well. Russia has actively begun supporting his Syrian ally against Turkey, NATO and the U.S. who are supporting rebels who have been fighting to remove Assad from power for over two years.
On the heels of the shoot-down Russia releases a report and various news articles pick it up, claiming that the Ergodan family supports ISIS, primarily through purchasing their oil. I’m not making claims on this one-way-or-the-other, because the Russian press certainly is used as a mouth piece for the Kremlim’s talking points, but as Ergodan wants to increase his Muslim stature and given ISIS’ popularity, from an Islamic point-of-view, supporting ISIS could be seen as a good strategic move. One has to wonder why ISIS hasn’t gone into Turkey? It could be that Turkey is secretly supporting them or it could simply be that ISIS can read. Article V of the NATO Treaty makes clear that an attack on one is an attack on all member-states and they are obliged to contribute either money or forces to the organizations defense. Ironic that France is looking to invoke the clause after not participating in military matters for much of the organizations history.
Should Turkey be taking the side of Islam it could mean the end of Turkey as we know it, with Ergodan leading the way.
I don’t say this sarcastically. I say this incredulously. Are we that scaredy of a people that we are more concerned with security measures than people wanting to kill us? Is there such disdain for authority in “the West” that they see those risking their lives to protect them as evil?
In writing about other things that have been on my list, I have not been able to write about the refugee crisis and its implications for U.S. policy and Christian ethics. However, there is a great piece from Desiring God regarding this issue. The convicting question below:
What if, while America was asking questions about safety and risk management, Christians were asking, What is God doing? What if, through the senseless evil of civil war, God was bringing unreached people groups to our cities? What if, through great tragedy, God was bringing about the triumph of the gospel?
Now that is the question running through my head: What is God doing?
I do not know the counsels of God, and it could be that the fact the majority of the Muslim refugees coming into the U.S. so far are around 18-29 years old could be that God is going to use them powerfully in their homeland for Christ. Our church has heard many stories of the work that God is doing in the Middle East through missionaries. So, I believe that God is certainly doing a work there.
Prophecies of Judgement
But then I think back on all the prophecies of judgement against Israel and Judah when they had turned from the Lord’s way and worshiped the false gods. And this certainly applies to the U.S. today. We have turned from the Lord’s way. Not that we are an entirely Christian nation, but we have been influenced largely by Christian ideals and, for the most part, run in a manner consistent with Christian ideals. And throughout U.S. history, Christians have had great influence on U.S. policy.
That is no longer the case.
Christians are no longer actively engaged in forging U.S. policy due to a lie (I’ll get to this in another post) of the complete separation of church and state. The decline in the respect for authority (ultimately Adam and Eve’s sin) is apparent in the violence against police who are granted an authority by the state to protect and defend others. But most striking through all the polls is the decline in which American’s profess to believe in God—to exalt God as the ultimate authority of the Universe.
Romans 1:28 tells of the consequences of worshiping the creature rather than the Creator. God “gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” And multiple examples in the Old Testament refer to the fact that God used non-Christians include war and evil to accomplish His plan of judgement against the Israelis. But the most ultimate use of evil is God’s bringing about Salvation through the heinous death of Jesus on the Cross! God’s ways certainly are higher than our ways!
And, thus, I wonder another question to ask is: Is God using evil (terrorism and ISIS) to accomplish His plan of judgement against the U.S.?
The Christian Response
What then are we has Christians to do? Pray! While there are ultimate examples of God using evil for God, there are also plenty of examples of believers responding and interceding for those God wishes to visit judgement upon.
Moses interceded for the people of Israel when they made and worshiped the golden calf at the base of Mount Sinai.
Abraham interceded for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah in seeking a remnant of believers to save the city. (Interestingly it demonstrates how evil the two cities were in that even a number so small could not be found enough believers.)
Jesus interceded for us in John 17 by praying to God on our behalf. Yet, his ultimate intercession was taking the penalty for all our sins upon himself.
While there is only one Jesus, we can pray for our nation. Pray for repentance. Pray against God’s judgement, if that is what this is. Pray for healing and forgiveness. Pray for our leaders.
Also, I am tempted to say that we do need to be cautious as well. I am still wrestling with this. So, pray!