This commentary attempts to make a conceptual evaluation of the phrase “model partnership” as a definition of US-Turkey relations. Against the background of much debate about the “viability” or “possibility” of “model partnership,” it argues that “model partnership” as an empty signifier does not represent either the ideal or the fully accomplished state of Turkish-American relations. The current problems in the bilateral relations derive from the gradual transformation in the nature of Turkish-American relations from a hierarchical relationship into a complementary one, i.e. from a “strategic partnership” to a “model partnership.” As we are going through a structural change, “policy recommendations” alone will not suffice to remedy the broader problem of necessary adjustments. The option for a “model partnership” is still on the table, however, it requires a serious, engaged, and conceptual discussion as the two sides adjust to and negotiate the new form of the relationship.