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Northern Cyprus to decriminalize homosexuality

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Turkish Cypriot leaders have bowed to pressure from Members of the European Parliament (MEP), and have agreed to repeal a law outlawing homosexuality.

Dervis Eroglu, the leader of the Turkish Cypriot government in the northern part of Cyprus said he would sign a repeal of the ban into law.

Northern Cyprus is the last part of Europe where it is still illegal to be gay.

MEPs also pressed Eroglu to keep his promise to ensure that any new law includes a provision to protect children from sexual abuse.

In a December 13 letter to British Conservative MEP for London, Marina Yannakoudakis, Eroglu writes:

“The draft proposal for the repeal of the part of the criminal code, chapter 154, which penalizes same sex sexual activity, has been submitted to the general assembly on 25 October 2011 by a political party, the Communal Democracy Party. This draft legislation states that not only girls and women but also boys and men can be victims of rape and sexual abuse.”

Eroglu pledged to support the repeal, saying:

“We gave our considered opinion to the government that the draft proposal concerned should be adopted and section 171 should be abolished without delay.”

Yannakoudakis has led a campaign for the the law change, and said, “I am pleased that Eroglu has honoured the promise he made to me in October.”

“There have been a number of concerns about human rights in the northern part of Cyprus. By agreeing to decriminalize homosexuality, Eroglu is taking concrete measures to ensure those living in the north part of Cyprus may enjoy the same human rights as their fellow Europeans, Yannakoudakis said.

In October a number of men were arrested for ‘homosexual offenses’ in North Cyprus, leading to an international outcry about the law.

They included former finance minister Michalis Sarris. He skipped a Nov. 17 court appearance, forgoing €47,000 bail money. On Tuesday, Sarris was appointed chairman of Marfin Popular Bank, the island’s second-biggest lender.

Sariss has described the circumstances of his arrest as “strange”.

Four of those arrested accused the police of brutality. Northern Cyprus group Initiative Against Homophobia accused the Northern Cyprus media in their reporting of the case of “normalizing an attitude of hatred” and “feeding homophobic reports and comments to the public.”

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8 more reader comments:

  1. Welcome to the 21st Century~~~

    Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 8:39am
  2. wow…they’re “all heart”

    Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 8:40am
  3. baby steps, i suppose

    Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 8:41am
  4. Great. Now I wont go visit there either…Them dang queerosekshuls is takin over thuh world!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 9:32am
  5. Ahhhh! The Turkush occupied part of Cyprus. Born of violence and maintained by hatred!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 10:25am
  6. Awesome. It’s sad when progress is defined as decriminalizing something that should never have been illegal in the first place.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 2:34pm
  7. This is a step forward in the right direction! Stop complaining it’s not enough! It is movement – forward movement! We should all be so lucky as to see actual progress like this being made in our own states and countries instead of a lot of political rhetoric and talk talk talk but no action.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 9:57pm
  8. Wow. At least it’s a first step.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 11:18pm