Asiatic or Eastern Turkey is known as Anatolia and is as much associated with the Old Testament as New Testament history. The land in eastern Turkey is as old as time. Today the Tigris and Euphrates rivers originate from Turkey and were first named in relation to the “Garden of Eden.”
Mount Ararat is in the far eastern side of Turkey and is higher than any mountain in Europe.
Noah’s son’s sons trace their heritage and family names to areas in what is now Turkey. Japeth’s decendents that were in this region were Gomer, Gog, Magog, Madai, Mesech, Tiras, Javan, Tubal and Togarmah. Shem’s link to this area is found through Nahor, Terah, Abraham, Asshur, Aram, and Lud.
Ham’s lineage can also be traced to eastern Turkey through Cush, Heth and the Hittites, and Nimrod.
Many place names have faint resemblances to these figures and personalities today. The oldest known city in the world (Catal Hoyuk) is located just outside of ancient Iconium, today called Konya, in central Anatolia and dates to 6000 B.C. In this Mesopotamian region ancient stories, “Gilgemesh Epic;” ancient treaties, “Treaty of Kadesh;” and ancient legal codes owe their origins to this “cradle of civilizations.”
The different peoples such as the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Aramaeans, Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, and Persians , all lived in, battled throughout and contributed to the development of Mesopotamia and are referred to in the Old Testament. Abraham and his son’s home was Harran and Urfa in Anatolia and is a pilgrimage site today for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Even Isaac and Jacob looked back to the homeland area of Harran inorder to marry. So for generations, even today, people continue to live in the present in light of the past. The Old Testament is as much a part of this country as it is for any other.
Dr. David V. Cathey is a Christian Professor and the Director of the Ephesus Learning Center, Selcuk (Ephesus), Turkey.