“Secondly, other articles of this draft bill are a serious threat to democratic principles, and will increase violations both of the security of the individual and of personal freedom. We do not agree with the portrayal of this draft bill as a contribution to the democratisation of Turkey, or as an attempt to strengthen MIT. It is definitely a bill to increase the powers of the Prime Minister and to consolidate his government. As the BDP we are absolutely opposed to this bill”.

Opponents have argued that the bill was introduced to protect the government, in response to the corruption allegations involving the sons of government ministers that surfaced in December. Currently the bill proposes up to 12 years’ imprisonment for journalists who publish highly classified MİT documents.

Demirtaş also defended the BDP’s democratic autonomy project: “Democratic autonomy, that is, the strengthening of local government, popular participation, the people being able to obtain services, education and culture in their own language, will not harm anyone in Turkey. If you look at the circles that are attacking the BDP, they do not have a single democratisation project. Their heads are fuddled with fascism and racism and they have lost the ability to think. They are trying to retain their base support. We are sorry, but we will construct democracy in Turkey in the framework of democratic autonomy. This is our right. It is not in violation of the constitution, of laws or of international conventions.”

Pervin Buldan, the BDP’s parliamentary group leader, told Hurriyet Daily News that the government was moving towards “an authoritarian state” by bringing all institutions under its control, referring to the controversial recent internet and judicial laws.

She said local elections on 30th March could be historic ones for the peace process and a negotiated resolution to the Kurdish question. “Each municipality we win will strengthen the hand of Mr. Öcalan. He will say ‘this many people are behind me’ during the negotiations,” she said.

Published by the Kurdistan Tribune on February 24, 2014