The culmination of five days of voting in Rhodesia witnessed an impressive 63% turnout at the polls, (the government had hoped for 60%) in that nation's first universal-franchise election, with blacks voting in force for the first time. The winner — to become the first black Prime Minister of the new Zambabwe-Rhodesia — is expected to be Bishop Abel Muzorewa.

   The show of popular support for moderate black candidates amounted to a firm rejection of allegiance to the two leaders of the Communist-supported Patriotic Front, Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe, who have been waging a guerrilla campaign against the provisional government from their bases in Zambia and Mozambique respectively.

   Several dozen official and unofficial supporters invited to observe the election proceedings have almost unanimously declared them to have been conducted fairly and without coercion on the part of the government. In fact, what coercion there was occurred in Rhodesia's rural areas where Patriotic Front intimidation squads were successful in keeping some blacks from the polls. Without the Patriotic Front tactics the turnout would have been significantly higher.

   Messers. Nkomo and Mugabe revealed on last night's "60 Minutes" program that they will continue to fight regardless of the election. They labeled Muzorewa and the other candidates as "stooges" of "fascism. Questioned by Dan Rather, Mugabe, definitely the more ideologically radical of the two, admitted in no uncertain terms that he was an avowed Marxist, who would do away with capitalism and "white privilege." In other words, turn Zimbabwe-Rhodesia into another "paradise" such as Mozambique.

   The "60 Minutes" program also revealed the cleft between Nkomo and Mugabe, and that their Patriotic Front is a sham, papering over severe differences. Nkomo receives significant support from the Soviets whereas Mugabe, whose forces are the least effective of the two guerrilla armies, gets only minimal support from the Chinese, who have been retreating from active military involvement in Africa.

   All observers of the Rhodesia scene realize that if the guerrillas were ever to shoot their way into office, the Patriotic Front would break down immediately with the two forces fighting a civil war — with everyone else caught in the middle — to see which chief emerges number one. Moscow has its bets all on Nkomo.

   Back to the election. The pressure now is squarely on Britain, the United States and other Western nations to recognize the validity of the election and to lift the crippling international sanctions against Rhodesia. The so-called Kissinger Formula adopted in 1976 set free elections and majority rule as the primary conditions for lifting the embargo.

   It remains to be seen whether Britain and the U.S. have the courage to do so. In Washington there is mounting pressure in Congress to take a positive step, but left-wingers in the State Department apparently remain adamant. So does Andrew Young, who has a fascination (revealed in a recent public telecast documentary) with the Patriotic Front leaders, especially Mr. Mugabe.

   One overlooked area of prophetic import which has been in the news recently is Turkey. Four months of violence, the loss of 1,000 lives, martial law, and political bombings now threaten to destablize Turkey and take her out of the Western orbit.

   In several ways Turkey may become another Iran. As occurred in that country, the unrest is coming from leftist student demonstrators, rootless rural-peasants who have poured into urban slums, and also from small businessmen and craftsmen who are losing out to "modernization." Also, as in Iran, the Islamic "mullahs" remain a potent though underground, force which a largely secular government has tried to put down.

   Also as in the case of Iran, Turkey is strategically important — perhaps even more so — for the monitoring of Soviet military developments by U.S. intelligence. And, as in Iran, Turkey seems to be catching some of the fallout from the much-heralded "Islamic revival'' now going on throughout the Middle East.

   Moreover, Turkey's economic problems are staggering: the country has been unable to pay its foreign debts on schedule, has a 50% inflation rate, and a 20% unemployment rate.

   However, Turkey has a number of differences with Iran which may prove to be important prophetically. Beside the fact that Turkey has no oil, Turkey also has a strong, radical fascist element in its politics. The Russians have been the Turks' traditional enemies, and this has prevented the leftist forces from making too many inroads. Thus much of the violence over these past months has not been anti-government violence, but the repeated clashes between right-and left-wing radicals. Finally, Turkey contains a large number of Sunni Moslems who tend to support the right, to partially offset the more leftist Shiite Moslems.

   For the moment, the situation remains in precarious balance, upheld by martial law. The current government of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has made some overtures to Moscow, but has also stressed its desire to maintain ties to the European Community.

   Should Turkey, still bitter over the American arms embargo, eventually sever ties with America, there are three possible powers with which it might align itself: Europe, the Soviet Union, or the more radical Moslem bloc which seems to be forming around Syria-Iraq-Iran. Any of these outcomes would seem to be in accord with the prophecies of Obadiah that Esau would eventually turn against modern day Israel.

Gene H Hogberg

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Pastor General's ReportApril 23, 1979Vol 3 No. 14