Turkish Cyprus Urged to Scrap Anti-Gay Law
An EU legislator urged the leader of Cyprus’ breakaway Turkish north on Thursday to repeal an anti-gay law that led to the arrest of a former Greek Cypriot Cabinet minister.
Lawmaker Marina Yannakoudakis raised the issue during a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, and a top government official said Eroglu agreed that the law should be scrapped. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with government regulations.
Yannakoudakis, whose parents are Greek Cypriots, was visiting the ethnically divided island with other European Union legislators for contacts with the Turkish Cypriot community.
"I was horrified when I heard that they hadn’t repealed the law," said Yannakoudakis, a Conservative Party member of the European Parliament for London.
Last week, the law, a leftover from the island’s British colonial past, led to the arrest of Michalis Sarris, a former Greek Cypriot finance minister, on suspicion that he tried to have gay sex in the north. The law considers that a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
On Thursday, a Turkish Cypriot court formally charged and released the 65-year-old Sarris on euro46,000 ($63,000) bail and ordered him to appear before a judge next month.