Northern Cyprus, the last part of Europe in which homosexuality is illegal, is set to repeal its ban on same-gender sex.
According to The Parliament magazine website, Dervis Eroglu, the leader of the government that governs the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, commonly referred to as Northern Cyprus, has said that he will sign a repeal of the ban.
“We gave our considered opinion to the government that the draft proposal concerned should be adopted and section 171 should be abolished without delay,” Eroglu said in a letter.
Section 171 of the Criminal Code, which was enacted in 1929, criminalises homosexual acts between consenting male adults with penalties including imprisonment for five years.
While homosexuality was legalised in 1998 in the rest of Cyprus, Northern Cyprus is an independent state in which gay sex has remained criminalised.
In October, three men, including former Cyprus Finance Minister Dr Michael Sarris were arrested for having gay sex in Northern Cyprus.
UK Member of the European Parliament Marina Yannakoudakis, who has campaigned against the ban on homosexuality in Northern Cyprus, welcomed the news.
“There have been a number of concerns about human rights in the northern part of Cyprus. By agreeing to decriminalise 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,” she told The Parliament.com.