Amberin Zaman

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A cardboard cut-out of Selahattin Demirtas, the jailed former co-chair and the presidential candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party. (Emrah Gurel/AP)

On Sunday, voters in Turkey will face a stark choice between two paths. One, embodied by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, entails a further descent into authoritarianism and a deepening of ethnic and sectarian divides. The other, represented by the opposition, offers the potential for national reconciliation, a return to parliamentary democracy and an easing of tensions with the West. The stakes have never been higher.

Opinion polls show a deeply polarized nation, evenly split between the pro-Erdogan camp and an opposition bloc led by pro-secular presidential candidate Muharrem Ince. Not only will the outcome affect the Turkish people. It also will determine whether Turkey — a critical Middle Eastern power and a vital member of NATO — continues its drift away from the U.S.-led…  Seguir leyendo »

Syrian Kurds waving Kurdish flags and flags with the logo of the People’s Protection Units outside the United Nations office in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region, on Monday. Credit Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The conflict between Turkey and the Kurds has escalated since Turkey started a military offensive against the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin on Jan. 20. The Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Units, which is the United States-led coalition’s top partner in the fight against the Islamic State, controls Afrin. And Turkey is a critical NATO ally.

The Trump administration is floundering. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has ignored President Trump’s appeal to avoid actions that might risk conflict between Turkish and American forces and torpedo the campaign against the Islamic State. Mr. Erdogan has vowed to carry the battle further east to militia-controlled territory stretching all the way to the Iraqi border, where an estimated 2,000 American Special Operations Forces are deployed.…  Seguir leyendo »