LGBT rights in Northern Cyprus

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LGBT rights in Northern Cyprus
StatusLegal since 2014
Gender identityNo
Discrimination protectionsYes[2][3]
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Northern Cyprus since 7 February 2014. Previous laws allowed three years prison sentences, according to Articles 171 and 173 of its criminal code. Female homosexuality was not criminalised.[4] Arrests for homosexuality have occurred as recently as 2011.[5]

The laws were a legacy of British colonial rule, left over after the island of Cyprus gained independence in the 1960s.[6] While the Republic of Cyprus decriminalised homosexuality in 1998 in order to accede membership of the European Union (EU) in 2004, the north's disputed status means it lies outside the EU's jurisdiction.

Repeal of the criminalisation of male homosexuality had been under serious consideration since 2006.[6] In October 2011, MEP Marina Yannakoudakis claimed that during a visit to Northern Cyprus, President Derviş Eroğlu promised her he would legalise homosexuality to bring it in line with Turkey, the Republic of Cyprus and the rest of Europe.[7] In December 2011, it was announced that, due to mounting pressure from MEPs, Northern Cypriot lawmakers would repeal the law currently criminalising homosexuality. President Derviş Eroğlu, the incumbent leader of the government, expressed that he would sign the bill into law when it came to him.[5]

This was delayed until two cases were brought against Northern Cyprus to the TRNC Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Immediately after the case was lodged at the European Court, the TRNC Prime Minister's EU Coordination Centre drew up an amendment in April 2013 to repeal Articles 171, 172, and 173 of Chapter 154 of the republic's criminal code. This was expected to be approved, but was tabled.

If the legislation had failed to pass, the European Court of Human Rights would have likely heard the case and find criminalisation to be a violation of Article 8, in line with Dudgeon v United Kingdom.[8]

On 27 January 2014, the Assembly of the Republic, the Northern Cypriot parliament, voted to abolish the criminal code provisions that outlawed same-sex relations between men.[9] The bill was signed into law, and published in the official gazette on 7 February 2014. It took effect upon publication.[10][11]

Calls have been made by non-governmental organizations to legalize same-sex marriage. In 2012, the Communal Democracy Party proposed a law that would have legalized same-sex marriages, but the legislation was opposed by the then-ruling National Unity Party.[12]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 2014)
Equal age of consent (16) Yes (Since 2014)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only Yes (Since 2014)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes (Since 2014)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes (Since 2014)
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Recognition of same-sex couples (e.g. registered partnership or civil union, etc.) No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Adoption for single persons regardless of sexual orientation No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays,lesbians and Bisexual allowed to serve openly in the military
Right to change legal gender
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Conversion therapy banned on minors No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No (Banned for opposite-sex couples also)
MSMs allowed to donate blood

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "LGBT Rights in Cyprus".
  2. ^ (in Turkish) Kuzey Kıbrıs’ın “Eşcinsellik Suçu” Yasası Tarihe Karıştı!
  3. ^ "Northern Cyprus Decriminalizes Homosexuality and Protects LGBTs Against Hate Speech". Archived from the original on 14 February 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  4. ^ State-sponsored Homophobia. A world survey of laws: Criminalisation, protection and recognition of same-sex love, 2013 Archived 17 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine, ILGA
  5. ^ a b Canning, Paul. "Northern Cyprus to Decriminalize Homosexuality". Archived from the original on 12 February 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  6. ^ a b Shoffman, Marc (13 October 2006) Northern Cyprus decriminalises homosexuality Archived 4 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Pink News
  7. ^ Geen, Jessica (20 October 2011) London MEP says North Cyprus president promised to repeal anti-gay laws, Pink News
  8. ^ Littauer, Dan (12 April 2013) Northern Cyprus to legalize gay sex Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Gay Star News
  9. ^ Dasha Afanasieva, Northern Cyprus becomes last European territory to decriminalize gay sex, Reuters, 27 January 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014
  10. ^ "Sayfa Bulunamadı - 404 Hatası". Archived from the original on 8 March 2014.
  11. ^ Roberts, Scott (27 January 2014) Northern Cyprus votes to repeal gay sex ban
  12. ^ "KKTC'de "eşcinsel evlilik" gündemde". Hürriyet. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2015.