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Northern Cyprus to decriminalise homosexuality

Northern Cyprus to decriminalise homosexuality

Turkish Cypriot leaders in Northern Cyprus have bowed under pressure from MEPs and agreed to decriminalise homosexuality.

Dervis Eroglu, president of the Turkish Cypriot government in the northern part of the island, said he would sign a repeal of the ban ‘without delay’.

Northern Cyprus is the last part of Europe where it is gay ‘activity’ is illegal.

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

Legislation until now threatened up to 14 years in prison for homosexual activity, although no one has been jailed in the past five years. This law remains from the era of British colonial rule.

Northern Cyprus does not fall under EU law because of disputes over who owns it. It is generally known as the Turkish Republic of Cyprus.

Remsiye, a lesbian, says the law would help the population become more European. She said: ‘There is an awful lot of homosexual activity behind closed doors but it will come out in the open once it is legal.’