THINGS change so quickly in the modern world that it is sometimes difficult to be absolutely certain as to where the loyalty of different countries lies and their positions can change dramatically, almost at the drop of a hat.
For years the European Union has flirted with Turkey offering the promise of EU membership which would allow Turkish citizens free passage throughout Europe in return for it being a potential new market. It has a large land mass straddling two continents and for many, blocking the irresistible march of Islamic fundamentalism.
As the number of refugees from Syria grew to flood proportions, with Turkey being not only a gigantic refugee camp but also a conduit for refugees smuggling themselves into Europe via Greece and the Baltics, so the EU offered them a deal: the rights of movement for Turkish citizens would be made easy prior to membership provided Turkey controlled the movement of those coming from the East.
For some this was the last straw and it may well be that the imagined threat of millions of Muslim Turks arriving in the UK swayed voters in the referendum, although there are of course a huge number of Turks living in the UK and across Europe already who managed to enter quite legally.
In the meantime, Turkey had fallen out with Russia following the shooting down of a Russian aircraft that was patrolling in Syria and it looked as if the two nations could themselves be in a state of potential armed aggression.
Then, of course, came the attempted coup in Turkey which some believe was backed, if not inspired by the USA. With a new cold war and the Islamic concept of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’, there has been a marked détente between Turkey and Russia which may bode ill for the future.
It certainly looks as if the EU will attempt to act diplomatically against Turkey in the event that the government there brings back the death penalty for those who rebelled against it.
So whilst the fears of the many who foresaw a new Muslim tide sweeping across Europe appear to be unjustified today, a combined Turkey and Russia could well become a potent political foe in the future.