Both the EU and Turkey have so far failed to establish a firm strategic rationale for their support for democratic change in the neighborhood, often accepting the tenet that their "values" may continue to clash with - but in the new context will have to prevail over - their "interests". As the geopolitical implications of the Arab uprisings become clearer, the EU and Turkey should adopt a more lucid and nuanced approach to democracy and a more explicitly political response to the "Arab Spring" which could offer the basis for joint initiatives bearing positive implications on the future of the bilateral relationship between the EU and Turkey. The EU could decide to pursue a wide-ranging dialogue with Ankara on respective primary strategic interests in the MENA region, not as a substitute for or diversion from more delicate discussions on Turkey's EU membership, but as a test of their present degree of alignment and possibly a catalyst for a more constructive conversation on accession in future.
1. The EU's Response
2. Turkey's Response
3. Common Issues for the EU and Turkey
3.1. The "shift to democracy"
3.2. A tension between values and interests?
4. Strategic Corrections and the Future of EU-Turkey Engagement