Heads of states come and go and, as recent events in Europe show, in a rapidly changing world, that seems to be the only opportunity for compromise and peaceful transition toward the new global realities. Yet if Erdogan would still manage to eat his cake and have it too, perhaps to everybody's surprise, he will be able to surpass Ataturk's legacy too.
If 2016 proved anything it that is the current international situation is becoming less stable and predictable. In 2017, with our global institutions weaker, the re-emergence of an antagonistic Russia and the continuation of unconventional terrorist threats, the picture is not particularly rosy. The post-war global order is at risk and if we are to tackle this, it will only be achieved multilaterally.
The historical record shows us that when faced with European economic and political exclusion Britons have tried to achieve their political and economic security through overseas, primarily, transatlantic connections. When we consider recent events in Europe and Europe's near abroad, it is again to those connections that Britain is likely to turn for peace and prosperity.
It is clear we cannot leave Britain's defence and security in the hands of the EU. A vote to Remain will validate this lie it is the EU which has maintained peace in Europe. Whether or not Trump is elected President in America will not matter in the end. America will see the EU as the future of Europe, and NATO as expensive relic of a bygone age.
The EU has already been buffeted by the Eurozone and migration crises; one more major shock to the system could well mark the beginning of the end. In the words of David Cameron: 'Can we be so sure that peace and stability on our continent are assured beyond any shadow of doubt?' Like the prime minister, I would never be so rash as to make that assumption.
Refugees want above all to be safe, and to have some hope that they can build a new and better life for themselves and their children, either in a new home or back in their old home once the conflict is over. Europe's voters want their governments to show that they are on top of the crisis, not paralysed into inaction.
Tyrannical and thoroughly disagreeable though he is, Mr Putin stands for nationalistic pride, a crucial buffer against the perils of American foreign policy and a determination to defend a revived Russia on the world stage, and her citizens abroad. Three things I respect, and three things a shrinking world desperately needs.
Already the UK is kept more secure and has a stronger leadership role on the global stage because of our military co-operation with Europe. If we are to continue to reap these benefits though, we cannot countenance turning our back on the EU, pulling up the drawbridge and going it alone. We have to engage more widely with political elites in our partner countries to make sure that we build their support.