Much remains to be understood about the links between regional vertical axis rotations, continental extension, and shortening. In western Turkey, Miocene vertical axis rotations have been reported that occur simultaneously with the extensional exhumation of the Menderes metamorphic core complex, which has been related to back-arc extension in the eastern part of the Aegean back arc. In this paper we explore the spatial and temporal relationships between vertical axis rotations in southwestern Turkey and extensional unroofing of the Menderes Massif. To this end, we provide a large set of new paleomagnetic data from western Turkey, and integrate these with the regional structural evolution to test the causes and consequences of oroclinal bending in the Aegean region. The Lycian Nappes and Bey Daglari are shown to rotate similar to 20 degrees between 16 and 5 Ma, defining the eastern limb of the Aegean orocline. This occurred contemporaneously with the exhumation of the central Menderes Massif (along extensional detachments) and after the latest Oligocene to early Miocene exhumation of the northern and southern Menderes massifs. Exhumation of the latter two was not associated with vertical axis rotations. The lower Miocene volcanics in the region from Lesbos to Usak, to the north of the central Menderes Massif underwent a small clockwise rotation, insignificant with respect to Eurasia. This shows that exhumation of the central Menderes Massif was associated with a vertical axis rotation difference between the northern and southern Menderes massifs of similar to 25 degrees-30 degrees. This result is in excellent agreement with the angle defined by the trends of Buyuk Menderes and Alasehir detachments, as well as the angle defined by the regionally curving stretching lineation pattern across the central Menderes Massif. These structures define a pivot point (rotation pole) for the west Anatolian rotations. The rotation of the southern domain, including the southern Menderes Massif, the Lycian Nappes, and Bey Daglari, must have led to N-S contraction east of this pole. The eastern limit of the rotating domain is formed by the transpressional couple of the Aksu thrust and Kirkkavak Fault in the center of the Isparta angle. Previously reported clockwise rotations in the volcanic fields near Afyon may be the result of distributed N-S shortening east of the pivot point. The precise accommodation of this shortening history remains open for investigation. Late Oligocene to early Miocene extension in the eastern part of the Aegean back arc was NE-SW oriented and likely bounded by a discrete transform. This transform may be associated with an early evolution of the eastern Aegean subduction transform edge propagator fault. Oroclinal bending in the west Anatolian region is likely related to a reconnection of the eastern part of the Aegean orocline with the African northward moving plate in tandem with roll back in the Aegean back arc, comparable to a recently postulated scenario for western Greece. Citation: van Hinsbergen, D. J. J., M. J. Dekkers, E. Bozkurt, and M. Koopman (2010), Exhumation with a twist: Paleomagnetic constraints on the evolution of the Menderes metamorphic core complex, western Turkey, Tectonics, 29, TC3009, doi:10.1029/2009TC002596.