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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 16, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 50
Turkish occupied zone in Cyprus legalizes Gay sex
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Turkish occupied zone in Cyprus legalizes Gay sex

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Northern Cyprus, occupied by Turkey since its invasion of the island nation in 1974, has agreed to legalize Gay sex.

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

Same-sex relations have been legal in the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, in the southern part of the island, since it joined the E.U. in 2004. Same-sex relations are also legal in mainland Turkey.

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

Members of the European Parliament led by Marina Yannakoudakis, a British representative of Cypriot origin, had pressed for the change.

In a letter to Yannakoudakis on December 13, Eroglu says that a repeal bill has been submitted to the Northern Cypriot legislature.

'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,' he wrote.

'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.'

'I am pleased that Eroglu has honored the promise he made to me in October,' Yannakoudakis replied.

'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.'

In October, seven men were arrested for 'homosexual offenses' in Northern Cyprus, leading to an international outcry against the anti-Gay law.

They included former Cypriot finance minister Michalis Sarris. According to the Cyprus Mail he skipped a November 17 court appearance, forfeiting the equivalent of $61,000 in bail money.

Four of those arrested accused the police of brutality. According to LGBT Asylum News, the Northern Cypriot group Initiative Against Homophobia accused the Northern Cyprus media of 'normalizing an attitude of hatred' and 'feeding homophobic reports and comments to the public' in their coverage of the case.

On December 13 Sarris was appointed chairman of Marfin Popular Bank, the second-biggest bank in Cyprus, based in the Republic of Cyprus.

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