Between the Cross and the Crescent

The Protestant Christian pastors in Islamic Turkey have raised voices in protest against the government’s persecution and oppression of Christians. It is 1915 once again, minus the Turkish genocide of Christians.

Erdogan, the dictatorial leader of the Turkish nation, has called it a “war between the Cross and the Crescent”, the symbols of Christianity and Islam. He forgets or purposely fails to admit that Christians were living in what is today’s Turkey for many centuries before the birth of Islam. Judaism, the father of all religious faiths, gave birth to a Christian son whose religious faith in turn gave birth to a Muslim grandson.

Once before in 732, the Muslim armies were defeated at the gates of Tours (France) and had to retreat from Europe. As a doctoral student in the 1950’s in France, I lived in Tours and often overheard the chatter in cafes over a beer or an espresso of the Christian victory over the Turks.

The tiny cups of strong black coffee were not called “Turkish” coffee, but by the preferred name of “Greek” coffee. Turkey was considered the “sick-man of Europe” and the French, in particular, wanted nothing to do with the Turks. One comrade used to remark “I’m sorry that the Orient Express has to arrive in Istanbul”, referring to the great cross-European train,  made famous in one of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels, “Murder on the Orient Express”.

Much later, in 1529 the Ottomans laid siege to Vienna but in the final battle outside Vienna on September 12, 1683  on the Kahlenberg mountain, a turning point occurred in the 300 year old struggle between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire which forever ended the Muslim Turkish battle for dominance in Europe.

The Austrians, composed of 11,000 soldiers and 5,000 volunteers, successfully routed the 140,000-170,000 Ottoman soldiers in the army of Kara Mustafa.

Since 1683 there has been no Turkish dominance on the European continent.  May there never be one.

The current “caliph dreamer” of Turkey would like to re-write history and create a new chapter in the long-lost glories of the Ottoman Turkish empire.

There is little doubt that the Erdogan dream will ever be realized.  If so, the dream would become the nightmare of the entire civilized world.

In a very brief visit in Vienna in 1969, I once asked an Austrian in a café over a kafee mit schlag und strudel what he knew about the history of that time. His brief reply was “who even bothers to think about Turks today? Nobody wants them”.

Well, he was wrong.  Erdogan and his Muslim majority certainly want a revival of their history, but this time, a history that glorifies them as victors.

Erdogan refers to it as the “battle between the Cross and the Crescent” for dominance in Europe.

It is once again time for the descendants of Tours and Vienna to take up the sword in the name of the Cross and put the sons of the Crescent fleeing once more.

When all is said and done, the  true victors will be neither those of the Cross nor those of the Crescent.

The real victors will be the sons and daughters of the Shield of David.

Ken yehi ratzon. So may it be !!

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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