The month we are still in, was and is full of events that disturb our peace and affect us either directly or indirectly. We were all saddened by the killing of 84 people by a Muslim terrorist in the French city of Nice. Not a day went by that humanity was once again horrified and stressed by the military coup that erupted in Turkey, in which about 300 people lost their lives; so despair weighed on us all.
What is happening now in Turkey even affects our country, because we know what connections we have with this great player on the international arena. It is obvious that the freedom of the press in this country will suffer from this failed coup, because in less than a week, dozens of television stations have been closed. The freedom of religion, which is still fragile, will be even more restricted, and the right to free expression will soon become a luxury in this country. The Turkish nation that was established in biblical territories where the apostle Paul and his team preached the gospel and planted dozens of churches, now every day is dressed in an increasingly black coat of Islam; or at least, this is also the wish of the current president Recep Erdogan – the man who has completely changed the face of Turkey and who wants to take it away from the principles of the one who founded this country, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. It was Ataturk who laid the foundations of modern Turkey and made this country one of the friendliest. As a result, millions of tourists, including hundreds of thousands of Jews, enjoyed the beautiful historical places of a country with a predominantly Muslim population. He was also a reliable ally of the United States and an important and active member of NATO. Turkey seemed to be a balance between the West and the Muslim world. Kemal Ataturk, the founding father of the Turkish nation, once said, “If there is peace in Turkey, there will be peace in the world.” Prophetic statements of the first Turkish president, in the context of today’s events, because what we see today in this country only peace can not be called.
All were good and beautiful until the current president came to power, who is a radical Islamist, as he himself has said more than once. Driven by the vision of restoring to Turkey the power and glory of the former Ottoman Empire at the height of its power, Erdogan appears everywhere as a dictator, but who, at the top, is very popular at home.
There are still many questions about this man, who, instead of fighting terrorists in the so-called Islamic State, is using the war in Syria and Iraq to bomb the Kurds living in today’s Turkey. More than 2,000 people were persecuted because they tried to have a different opinion than the president, and this year alone 6 Christian churches have been closed and their land confiscated.
Obviously, this situation further complicates the relative peace we have these days, because immediately after the events in Turkey we all saw other terrorist acts in Germany, Armenia or Kazakhstan where the innocent people have suffered as a result of the terrorist actions.
Seeing all these things, you can’t help but wonder where humanity is going… How should a Christian behave when he sees and hears about all these things? Especially since many people rushed to say that all these tragic events foretell the end of the world. Jesus warned us that when…
“you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.” (Mark 13:7 NASB).
We as Christians must not remain ignorant and forget that even in the days of the apostles or the early church there was no more peace and quiet, but the gospel advanced quickly and qualitatively. Perhaps these events will awaken us to reality and we will begin to return to the holy and noble call of every Christian to go and make disciples.
Translated by Nicoleta Filat