Turkey is in the thick of the most volatile and epoch-making period of its modern history at this time. What sort of countenance the nation is about to depict and what lies in store for Turkey in the not too distant future is anybody's guess, as all this hinges on how the things pan out during this uncertain period and how Turkey rides out this political crisis. Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is in a daze nowadays as it is in the lion's den. It faces possible closure on account of the accusations of trying to introduce Islamic rule. The reason is that the country's constitutional court is reviewing a case to outlaw the AKP for its reportedly anti-secular proclivities and leanings at variance with the edicts of the Turkish constitution. The case is a jazzed up version of the bitter head-on confrontation between secularist forces and the AKP, which had romped home in the elections last year in the face of a divisive campaign in which scorn was heaped on the party's alleged Islamist leanings. This landmark case has been petitioned by the chief prosecutor to ban the AKP and bar 71 named officials including the titans like PM Erdogan and president Gul from party politics for five years. The case anchors in the claim that the defendants are trying to foist Sharia Law on the secular Turks. The secular establishment, including generals and judges, imputes the AKP of harbouring a hidden Islamist agenda. The party, which embraces nationalists, market liberals and centre-right politicians as well as religious conservatives, denies these allegations and dubs them as fictional. This case came hard on the heels of the government's act to lift a ban on students supporting the headscarf at university. It has deepened political and economic uncertainty, wiped billions of dollars off Turkish stocks and turned off foreign investors from investing in the rapidly growing EU applicant country. It is early yet to predict how the battle between the AKP and the secular establishment will play itself out as the situation goes down to the wire. But on mature reflection, what sticks out a mile is that the underlying motive of the case is a good fist by the generals to press into service the courts to turf out Turkey's mildly Islamist government in a judicial coup. This case inheres in the army's bid to put a spoke in AKP's wheel as it arrogates to itself the right to fend off the Turkey's secular system. It remains at odds with the AKP over the role of religion in public life. There is also the news regarding the alleged plans by the general staff to whip up the public opinion against the government. and its sympathisers. Twenty-four ultra nationalists including two former Turkish generals have also been nabbed on charges of forming and leading a terrorist government. and seeking to topple the leading government. One of these generals had aided and abetted in mounting anti-government demonstrations last year. The AKP can salvage itself if it can lend credence to the claim that it is a liberal party and not an Islamist one. The AKP leadership avers that it is a liberal, pro-western party and shrugs off the charges as trumped up and politically motivated. The AKP, whose electorate are mainly conservative Turks in rural areas with growing economic power, reaffirms that it has disowned its Islamic roots and embraced Turkey's bid to join the EU. Some of its actions shore up its claims. On the political front, since it has taken the helm in 2002, it has portrayed liberal values. On the economic count also, it has displayed streaks of liberalism. The pro-market policies have helped the Turkish economy to grow at an annual rate of more than 5 percent between 2003 and 2007. As a sequel to the AKP's sagacious policies, the Turkish economy created an average 1.1 percent increase in employment annually between 2003 and 2007. However, on the social issues the AKP has overstepped the mark and shown religious overtones. The proposal to allow young Muslim women to wear headscarves is a case in point. It has also clamped down on other Western style freedoms. For instance, Turkey's drinking culture dates back to the Ottoman Empire but the AKP has tripled tax rate on wine, resulting in drinking becoming scarce luxury. The AKP says that outlawing the party would amount to infringing upon the principles of freedom of expression and association, warning that woe betide Turkey if the AKP is banned, as this ban could see Turkey convicted by the European Court of Human Rights. The constitutional court has banned 24 parties since its establishment in 1963 but if it opts for outlawing the AKP, it would be the first such move against a governing party. Turkey, preponderantly Muslim but officially secular and pulling out all the stops to come in the EU from the cold, has had four military coups against the elected government in the last 50 years. What the future holds out for Turkey? The jury is still out on this issue. A lot rides on the outcome of the case against the AKP. By all accounts, if the court pronounces against AKP and Erdogan is given the marching orders, this will add up to an early parliamentary election. However, partisans of AKP say that there is a fat chance of this happening as it will send shockwaves across the country and the situation will go haywire. They say that it is not over until the lady fat sings. The writer is a freelance columnist E-mail: irfanasghar99@yahoo.com