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AFTER decades of seeking entry into the European Union, and last drama and hitches, the EU formerly offered the prospect of full membership.
The prospect of Turkey joining Europe's exclusive club had sparked opposition in Germany and France. Some opponents, particularly on Europe's "Christian Democrat" right-wing, have focused on Turkey's Islamic religious heritage to argue that Ankara should not be given full member status in the EU.
But Turkey's PM, Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected arguments based on cultural difference. "Turkey is not an Islamic state but a democratic one with a Muslim majority," he said. "Turkey culturally and geographically belongs in Europe."
At a summit in Brussels, Erdogan accepted the European offer after he agreed to recognise the southern Greek Republic of Cyprus which became a member of the EU last May.
Cyprus was a very sensitive issue as northern Cyprus is Turkish, and efforts to unite north and south earlier this year failed. Instead of a united Cyprus joining the EU, it was only the southern Greek republic that was able to join.
But by an intriguing twist, Greece, Turkey's neighbour, historic enemy and patron of Cyprus, is now a keen supporter of Mr Erdogan and Turkish membership.
Over the past few years, Turkey achieved a remarkable political transformation which was required as a prelude to talks on entry in the EU.
Accession talks are now to begin on 3 Oct, 2005, and it will take about 10 years for all the fine-tuning needed before Turkey becomes an actual member.

*Its 779,452 sq km of territory is divided between Europe and Asia. Its European neighbours are Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Cyprus and Armenia. Its Asian neighbours are Azerbaijan Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
*In the times of St Paul, Turkey was a number of regions - Asia Minor, Galatia, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Lycia, Lydia, Mysia, Phrygia, Pisidia, Pamphylia.
*In 1923 Turkey was formed into a secular republic after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I.
*Its capital is Ankara (Ancyra in Bible times). Istanbul is its industrial and commercial hub.
*Its population is 99% Muslim (80% Sunni, 20% Alevi). Armenians are the largest religious minority (45,000), and Jews numbers about 35,000.
*Its population is 70.7 million, including 13-19 million Kurds. When Turkey finally joins, the EU's population of 455 million in Jan 2002 will increase to above 525 million.
*Turkey's entry into the EU will bring the number of Muslims in the European block to about 80 million.

IT IS interesting to watch developments in Turkey and the European Union, in the light of Ezekiel's prophecy concerning the Russian-led northern con-federation of the endtimes.
"Son of man, set your face against Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, The Sovereign Master, YHWH, says:
'Listen! I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws and bring you out with your whole army - your horses and horsemen all fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing swords. Persia (Iran), Cush (Ethiopia), and Put (Libya) will be with them, all with shields and helmets; Gomer (Germany) also with all its troops; and the House of Togarmah from the far north (Turkey and the Turkic people of Central Asia) with all its troops - many nations with you'." (Ezekiel 38: 2-6).
The House of Togarmah in Ezekiel 38:6 is believed to be comprised of the Turkic peoples of central and west Asia - Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Sinjiang.
Beth-Togarmah is linked with Rosh, Gomer and Persia (Russia, Germany, and Iran) and the rest of the north-ern Confederation of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal that comes down against Israel in the early Tribulation.
Although the European (Roman) Confederation is becoming huge and powerful, we can expect a massive cleavage in "The Union" as the Antichrist rises to power.
Ten nations will surrender their sovereignty completely to him, but Turkey and Germany will shift their loyalties to the Northern confederation.

FORMER foes, Turkey and Syria have signed a free-trade accord and say they agree to put their differences behind them. During a two-day mission to Damascus, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his Syrian counterpart, Mohammed Naji Otri, signed the deal.
"We are in agreement. We want a comprehensive cooperation in the region," said the Syrian premier, adding that Erdogan had also agreed to increase the flow of water into Syria. Regarding disputes over sharing of scarce water resources in the arid region, Otri said those problems "are now forgotten."
The free-trade accord is the cornerstone of efforts to boost the newly found friendship between the two former foes.
Ankara and Damascus share concerns over the Iraqi Kurds' aspirations for self-rule in a future federated Iraq as they both have sizeable Kurdish communities of their own.
In 1998, the two countries nearly went to war over Ankara's accusations that Damascus was sheltering separatist Kurdish militants fighting the Turkish government. - Damascus / AFP / 22 Dec 04

We can almost say that Syria will definitely be allied with Russia in the endtime northern confederation.
Both are "Kings of the North." So watch for signs of the growing Russian-German-Turkish-Syrian-Iran- Central Asia axis.
With Russia now disturbed by Ukraine's expected defection, Moscow will be more determined to gain influence and woo Turkey and the Middle East.


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