The Muslim world's liveliest democracy has long been a work in progress, but the stakes just got a lot higher for Turkey and the greater Middle East. Turkey's future as a pluralistic, free society is on the line.
The Poles call them kresy, lands on the edge, and Russians the ""near abroad."" Belarus and Ukraine have traditionally existed in a political and geographic limbo between East and West from which more than a decade of independence, and the highest of hopes, have not liberated them.
After Georgia's bloodless ""Rose Revolution"" in December, we can only hope Kiev will host the chestnut (in full bloom each spring in the leafy capital) variety. Ukraine offers the best chance to build on the Georgian success in popular democracy -- as long as the West and the democratic opposition play their cards right.