This paper discusses how Turkey's otherness to European identity, as represented by the European Union (EU), was turned into an asset during the beginning of the AKP rule. To the extent that the AKP represented the Islamic cultural other against both the secular establishment of Turkey and the EU, its promise to fulfill the Copenhagen political criteria and adopt EU norms and standards provided a possibility of a model' for the EU. This was the promise of a self-transforming cultural other becoming a part of the EU normative order and representing this system in its region. In the period between 2002 and 2005, there was a compromise on Turkey's projected identity between the EU and the AKP. Yet this early promise and the ensuing compromise could not be sustained and realized in the following phases of the AKP rule. First stagnation between 2005 and 2010 and then a break wasted this promising new beginning.