The Turkish Parliament opened for its final session before the June 2015 parliamentary elections with a speech by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan is used to addressing the Parliament as the prime minister and the chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) but this was the first time he had addressed the Parliament in an opening session. It clearly showed he is in full command as a head of state who has been elected directly by the Turkish people.
This will be a period when the president elected by the people has to work in harmony with the elected Parliament. That is easier said than done.
There is no doubt the AK Party will be more than willing to work with Erdoğan as Turkey pushes ahead with more reforms before the 2015 summer elections.
But it is also a fact that the opposition sharpened with its visible enmity toward Erdoğan and will be armed with added motivation to block the government in the Parliament.
Turkey needs a serious overhaul in its judicial system. Turkey needs a serious review of its security apparatus. It also needs social and democratic reforms.
All these are tied to new legislation which will be engineered by Erdoğan as much as by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's government. Thus, it will meet even tougher resistance from the opposition parties than before and attempt to charge Erdoğan's interference as unlawful.
This will be a vital period for Prime Minister Davutoğlu. It will show if he is made of leadership material as he has to steer his party and his parliamentary group through tricky waters. If he is successful, Davutoğlu's place as AK Party leader will be consolidated and no one will dare challenge him in the future. He will enter the 2015 elections with the strength driven from his party and a boosted self-confidence. If he falters, that will create problems for himself, the AK Party and President Erdoğan.
President Erdoğan in his address clearly gave the impression that he is in charge, setting targets for the government and explaining the details of the policies of the administration which the government is a part and he is the boss.
He signaled that the peace process should go ahead in full swing and that the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HDP) should do more to bolster the process instead of trying to stall it with provocations, adding that the opposition parties should also give a helping hand.
He also said the Parliament should approve a new constitution before the 2015 elections which seems to be "mission impossible" under the current conditions.
He also said Turkey will not be preached to regarding what is needed in Iraq and Syria and said bombing the extremist forces of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is not enough and have to be supplemented with additional measures which Turkey wants.
He pointed out that the motion to send Turkish troops into Iraq and Syria to set up a security zone for the refugees should clear the Parliament and that those who are setting up a coalition to fight ISIS should pay attention to Turkey's desires and sensitivities as Turkey is hosting 1.5 million refugees mainly from Syria. The country has already spent 4 billion dollars without any real outside help while all European Union countries could only absorb 130,000 refugees from the war-stricken neighboring Syria.
The president showed who is in charge and what he expects from the government and the Parliament. Now it is up to them to perform.