Eschatology of the Russian-Turkish conflict
On November 26th, 2015 in the center of Athens, protestors burned the US and Turkish flags at a pro-Russian rally. A similar rally was held in Bulgaria. Both countries are Turkey’s neighbors and historical adversaries, and are populated mostly by Russia’s coreligionists.
The recent events in the Middle East increased anti-Turkish sentiments among Christian Orthodox peoples within post-Byzantine space: Greeks, Serbs, Bulgarians and Romanians. The increasing tensions led many people in the region and in other Christian Orthodox countries, including Russia, to refer to the prophecies of Orthodox Saints about war between Russia and Turkey.
Elder Paisius of Mt. Athos and many other Orthodox saints, including Saint Cosmas of Aetolia, have prophesied that modern Istanbul will once again become Orthodox, and most probably within our lifetime. According to the prophecy, Turkey will lead a war against Russia, and will be defeated and dismembered.
According to Saint Paisius, in the war between Russia and Turkey, the Turks will at first believe they are winning, but this will lead to their destruction. The Russians, eventually, will win and take over Constantinople. After that, it will be given to Greece.
The saints predict that a third of the Turks will go back to where they came from, the depths of Turkey. Another third will be saved because they will become Christians, and the other third will be killed in this war.
The most important prophesy that is believed, which can most clearly be justified right now, is that Turkey will be dissected into three or four parts, and one of the parts will belong to an independent Kurdistan.
The position of Radical Islamists
From the point of view of Sunni-radicals, the recent events will be followed by the Great War, where Russia will fight against Muslims as the force of Dajal (the Antichrist).
They support Turkish Islamic President Erdogan in his possible fight against Russia. They strongly oppose Iran, and perceive Shia-Muslims as heretics. So the Russian-Shia alliance is perceived by them as an Apocalyptic threat.
The view of Continental Islam
The prominent contemporary Islamic scholar Sheikh Imran Hosein rejects this opinion, and urges Muslims to return Constantinople to the Orthodox Christians. He says it will come back after the Great War, where the forces of true Islam will fight alongside Orthodox Christians against Turkey. That prediction is based on the next arguments:
· From his point of view, Russia is Rūm of the Qur’an, mentioned in Surat ar-Rum, and that it will be the ally of true believing Muslims against the Dajjal (Antihrist). In his interpretation Rum (derived from Rome) is the Third Rome, Russia and Christian Orthodox civilization that succeed Byzantium, the Second Rome, and not the Occident.
· The Ottoman Empire and Turkey always was an instrument of Dajjal and the Judeo-Christian or Atheist West, in the fight against authentic Islam and Orthodoxy. The conquest of Constantinople according to the Prophet Muhammad would occur at the end times.
· Therefore the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Muhammad Fatih had nothing to do with the prophecy.
· Wahhabi petro-states of the Persian Gulf as well as pseudo-Islamic extremists are heretics of the Muslim world and were created with the help of the Atlanticist powers. And as heretics they will fight on the side of Dajjal in the coming war.
According to Imran Hosein, a giant army of Islamic non-fundamentalist states (Iran, Egypt, Syria) will attack and defeat Turkey. It will be the Malhama (great war) prophesied by the Prophet Muhammad, that will lead to the conquest of Constantinople. After the victory of true Muslims, the city will be returned to Orthodox Christians. After that, both armies will fight against the Dajjal who will be backed by the modern Occident and Israel in the land of Syria.
The view of American Dispensationalists
American radical Protestants have always perceived Russia as an Apocalyptic threat. This view is based on their interpretation of Ezekiel 38 – 39. This group is very strong in the US and in the American elite. They believe that Russia is the Biblical Magog and that together with Persia (Iran), Israel will be attacked and invaded, the latter of which will be backed by American Protestants.
The strengthening Russian presence in the Middle East is considered by them as an imminent threat, and in any potential war they believe that Russia is Satan’s force.
It is strange, but the fact that despite the religious differences in beliefs of American Protestant pro-Israel fundamentalists and Sunni-radicals, their views regarding Russia are very close. Both think and act as though Russia and Iran are their eschatological enemy. Both believe that they will fight in an Armageddon battle against Russia. This issue reveals the Atlanticist nature of modern Sunni radicalism. Driven by these views, Islamists always will be a tool in the hands of Atlanticists.
On the other side are the forces of traditionalist Islam, that is more pro-Russian than pro-Western. Its geopolitical eschatology almost coincides with the Christian Orthodox one. This creates space for the forging of another alliance, an alliance of the Orthodox World and Traditional Islam.