Jerusalem Post reported Friday that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened the country’s parliament with a speech in which he claimed: “Jerusalem is our city”:
Erdoğan referred to the Ottoman Empire’s rule over Jerusalem, which lasted four centuries (1517-1917), to justify his claim.
“In this city that we had to leave in tears during the First World War, it is still possible to come across traces of the Ottoman resistance. So Jerusalem is our city, a city from us,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan mentioned that Jerusalem’s walls that still stand today, as well as the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem’s Old City, were reconstructed and restored by Suleiman the Magnificent, who reigned over the Ottoman Empire from 1520 until his death in 1566.
“The issue of Jerusalem is not an ordinary geopolitical problem for us,” Erdoğan said. “First of all, the current appearance of the Old City, which is the heart of Jerusalem, was built by Suleiman the Magnificent, with its walls, bazaar, and many buildings. Our ancestors showed their respect for centuries by keeping this city in high esteem.”
Erdoğan then moved to address the Palestinian issue, stating that “we consider it an honor on behalf of our country and nation to express the rights of the oppressed Palestinian people on every platform, with whom we have lived for centuries.”
“With this understanding, we will follow both the Palestinian cause, which is the bleeding wound of the global conscience, and the Jerusalem case to the end,” Erdoğan concluded.
However, the claims of the Turkish President stand in stark contrast to Biblical accounts from Scripture.
Thousands of years ago, starting in the Book of Genesis, God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob [whose name was later changed to Israel] and their seed that He would give them the land of Israel, including Jerusalem, as an everlasting possession.
Genesis 17:8 KJV – “And I will give unto thee [Abraham], and to thy seed [Israel] after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
Throughout God’s word, He gives warnings to those who come against Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. Zechariah 12 gives an explicit warning surrounding the enemies of Jerusalem, one verse stating: “It shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:9).
The Bible says God will judge nations by how they treated the Jewish State of Israel (Joel 3:2).
It is also worth noting that although the Turkish President claims that the Ottoman Empire built much of Jerusalem, the Bible and first-hand accounts at that time tell a very different story.
Ezekiel 36 explains that the land prior to the return of the Jewish state would be desolate, with the buildings in ruin and that it will “lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by“:
Ezekiel 36:33-36 KJV – “Thus saith the Lord God; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builder. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.”
Mark Twain, in his book “Innocents Abroad” in 1867, wrote a description of the land of Israel:
“A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse… a desolation,” he wrote. “We never saw a human being on the whole route… hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”
Twain then wrote specifically regarding Jerusalem:
“A fast walker could go outside the walls of Jerusalem and walk entirely around the city in an hour. I don’t know how else to make one understand how small it is,” he explained. “The mighty mosque or Omar, and the paved court around it, occupy a fourth part of Jerusalem.”
“There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent – not for 30 miles in either direction. There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents, but not a single permanent habitation. One may ride ten miles, hereabouts, and not see ten human beings,” Twain added. “Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince.”
The Bible explains that the Jewish people will return to the land and Jerusalem in flocks, and rebuild, which is precisely what has taken place. Today, the land is extraordinarily lush, the population is almost 8 million, and just recently, the tiny nation was ranked the 8th most powerful country in the world.