Polarized Turkey

Calling early general elections is often the best way to ease a political crisis. In a democracy, that is. But Turkey is not a typical Western democracy. It’s far from certain that a snap election – made inevitable after the country’s highest court annulled a first-round parliamentary vote to elect a new president yesterday – will stave off the deepening crisis or simply pour more oil onto the flames. The climate is already tense after the blatant threats by the security establishment and the huge pro-secular rallies. The Islamic-leaning government, which had so far kept a low profile, has had to answer in kind, mobilizing its own demonstrations. We are in for a fierce battle in which one camp will raise the secular flag against Islamic obscurantism and the other the flag of democracy against the coup planners. Turkey is a tinderbox – and it will only take one spark.