Once the Cold War ended, Turkey's divergence regarding minority rights, free speech, and judicial independence, among other issues, became too obvious for the West to ignore. One critical consequence was that is produced stiffer European opposition to Turkey's accession to the EU, along with a mutual souring of relations. If these tensions are not managed wisely, a populist, nativist backlash in both the West and in Turkey could magnify mistrust and frustrate reconciliation.
Equally important, Turkey's third way may be a harbinger of a new reality -- one in which emerging economies adopt the methods of growth used in the West without adopting its values or foreign policy goals. Indeed, Turkey's experience only reinforces growing doubts that the regime changes forced by the Arab Spring will lead to a liberal convergence. Democratic Islam offers the Middle East a path to cultural values that are likely to be as alien to the West as those exhibited by the previous generation of unelected autocrats.