Ankara’s bid for European Union membership used to underlie Turkey’s appeal for many of the Middle East’s progressive elements in the past. The Arab Spring enhanced Turkey’s importance as a “model country” for other Islamic countries. With the Arab Spring gone sour and the EU battling its own crises, while Turkey becomes more authoritarian under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, these hopes have all but faded.
It was a negative issue, the refugee crises, which appeared momentarily to inject fresh life into ties between Ankara and Brussels recently. Following the highly controversial migrant agreement concluded by the sides in March, then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced “a new era” in relations with Europe.