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Northern Cyprus anti-gay law to be challenged

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  1. Good luck with the case … I hope it succeeds …

    One issue that I am confused about – if Northern Cyprus is not a recognised state by the international community, how can it be held to account by the ECHR?

    Not that this should stop any effort to pressurize Northern Cyprus into ensuring the human rights of its citizens, just wondering if the case might have some jurisdictional issues

    1. I’d love to know the story behind the de-criminalisation in 19th century Ottoman Empire.

      1. Father Ted 7 Feb 2012, 3:53pm

        Just as Britain was criminalising around the Empire, several countries were decriminalising around the world.

      2. There’s a bit about the decriminalization of homosexuality in the Ottoman Empire here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman_Empire#Decline_and_modernization_.281828.E2.80.931908.29

        But according to Human Rights Watch, homophobia is rife in Turkey today so it seems that gay rights are not really protected.

    2. ECHR has made number of rulings with regards to Cyprus, whether they decide to abide by those rulings is another matter, good luck indeed

    3. The article says it is Turkey that is being taken to court, and that Turkey is responsible for the guarantee of human rights in Northern Cyprus.

      1. I agree …

        But Turkey doesnt recognise Northern Cyprus as its territory …

    4. jamestoronto 7 Feb 2012, 5:49pm

      Northern Cyprus is not a state that is recognised by anyone except Turkey. It would not even exist but for the occupying Turkish army. Remove the Turks and the “state” would evaporate. It is Turkey that is being taken to task on the human rights violations , not Northern Cyprus. Since Turkey is the occupying force it must be held responsible for the violations of human rights. Ironically, Turkey is being called into account for a law that doesn’t even exist in its own country (homosexuality has been decriminalised there for some time).

      1. @Jamestoronto

        There is a creeping acceptance (by some very minor countries admittedly) of Northern Cyprus as an independent state eg by the Gambia …

        Of course, there is no international recognition …

        Nonetheless, Turkey regards TRNC as an independent state. Sure, Turkey invaded ilegally but then recognised TRNC as an independent state. They have refused to uphold international obligations that other bodies have tried to impose on the situation in Northern Cyprus with the response that Turkey encourage TRNC to comply with the requests of international bodies, but that it is for TRNC to determine what is in its own sovereign national interest to accept or not – and not for Turkey to make that decision for TRNC. An example of this is Turkeys statement that it is unable to accept responsibility for affairs in Northern Cyprus (other than the initial invasion) due to it being a sovereign state (in their view). This was in response to UN General Assembly resolution 37/253 which …

        1. stated in 1983 that part of the Republic of Cyprus remained controlled by occupying forces. Turkey refused to accept the view of the UN.

          Furthermore, the ECHR stated in Cyprus v Turkey that Turkey’s responsibility could not be confined to the acts of its own soldiers in northern Cyprus but was also engaged by acts of the local administration, which remained reliant on Turkish military and other support. It follows that, in terms of Article 1 of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, Turkey’s jurisdiction is considered to extend to securing the entire range of substantive rights set out in the Convention and those Additional Protocols which it has ratified, and that violations of those rights are imputable to Turkey.

          Turkey refused to accept the courts ruling that it had full responsibility.

          Why would it change its view now?

    5. hi, just responding to your question. you are right that northern cyprus is not a recognised state in international law. The application is brought from the applicant against Turkey and this is because Turkey is the occupying power and has effective overall control of the northern part – due to the turkish occupation since 1974, the Republic of Cyprus cannot extend the acquis communautaire of the European Community across the island. Because of the effective control test and jurisdiction being extended, Turkey can be held accountable for human rights violations in northern Cyprus. Hope my answer was helpful.

  2. Father Ted 7 Feb 2012, 3:52pm

    Just as Uganda is secretly reintroducing the kill-the-gays-and-their-friends Bill. See Boxturtle Bulletin.

  3. Sister Goodlove 7 Feb 2012, 4:42pm

    Stu is right. How do you impose rules on a rogue, self-imposed state recognised by no-one and answering to no-one?

    1. North Cyprus is 100% answerable to Turkey. Which is why this case is being taken against Turkey.

      1. Thats great, dAVID

        But if Turkey do not recognise TRNC as thier territory then they are not going to agree to uphold a judgement that they believe is not in their power to implement ….

        1. Both Turkey and North Cyprus want EU membership. I suspect they will take action.

  4. There seems to be a backlash against gays in a number of third world countries from the former Ottoman empire. A bill that would ban homophobic incitement in Greece has been recently shelved, and there are several Eastern European/Balkan countries that have ignored the EU’s mandate to grant full equality to LGBTs.

    Today’s federal court ruling in California hopefully will add support to the growing trend to accept LGBTs on a full & equal basis.

  5. I have donated to ‘The Human Dignity Trust ‘ for their work in Northern Cyprus.

  6. GingerlyColors 8 Feb 2012, 7:41am

    There is just one stain of state-sanctioned homophobia left in Europe – this is a golden opportunity to erase it.

    1. I hope so, but I expect the court to issue a judgement and one of two things to happen …

      Hopefully – a) the TRNC government (unrecognised by the international community) introduce decriminalisation and release those imprisoned for homosexuality offences

      or b) TRNC refuse to change the law and Turkey states it is unable to interfere in the affairs of another sovereign state (which had been Turkeys approach in most cases where TRNC has been criticised in the past)

  7. The ECHR holds that it has jurisdiction in TRNC. Turkey is an ECHR signatory, and the ECHR has repeatedly held that signatories are responsible for violations within territories they occupy, legally or illegally. Turkey has on many occasions been held responsible by the ECHR for violations in TRNC.

    But ECHR judgements cannot be enforced: not just in TRNC, but anywhere. The ECHR’s leverage over states is mostly limited to international embarrassment. The ECHR demanded that Republic of Cyprus decriminalise homosexuality in 1993, but Cyprus refused to comply until 1998 when the carrot of EU membership was offered.

    And Turkey will doubtless argue that regardless of the ECHR’s view that TRNC is under occupation, Turkey does not have the capacity to enforce judgements applying to Northern Cyprus.

    But I suspect TRNC will enact the inevitable pro-gay decision. This is a trivial issue for Turkey (where gay sex is legal) and the EU ambitions of Turkey and TRNC mean compliance is good PR.

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