As the term was used a decade ago, Bal explains, "Turkish model" referred to a development model that included "secularism in a Muslim society, a market economy, closeness and cooperation with the West, and a multi-party system." He documents how in the period 1991-92 Turks themselves and their Western friends advocated that the Turkish model be exported to the newly-independent Turkic states of the Caucasus and Central Asia, essentially seeing in this both a more palatable way of exporting Western ways to a new region and a method to stymie Iranian and other unwelcome influences.

Then, Bal shows, support for the Turkish model began to decline by the end of 1992 and "by the end of 1993 it ended almost completely." In the West, this change resulted from a realization that Iranian influences were limited, that Russian strengths in the region remained fairly intact, and also from a fear of resurgent pan-Turkism. In the Turkic republics themselves, the model's decline resulted from a fear of taking on a new "big brother" to replace the old Soviet one and a greater skepticism about Turkey after getting to know it better. And who needs an intermediary to the West when the West was ready (especially in the form of oil companies) to come directly to the Caucasus and Central Asia? With some wistfulness but a clear head, Bal carefully documents the enthusiasms of a recent but remote moment.