Efforts to repeal the ban on homosexuality in Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus are to be revived, with the decriminalisation expected to be in force by Christmas.

The leader of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Dr Dervis Eroglu, promised Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis that the law banning homosexuality would be repealed two years ago. The London MEP Mrs Yannakoudakis will now return to the process.

Because of early elections, proposals which were put before officials earlier this year will need to be re-tabled.

Mrs Yannakoudakis met with the Republican Turkish Party, currently the largest Turkish Cypriot political party, and its partner the Democratic Party. She also met with the leader of the smaller Communal Democracy Party.

All three parties have promised to enact the demineralisation of homosexuality in 1-2 months.

Mrs Yannakoudakis, who met with representatives of Queer Cyprus and other supporters of decriminalisation, shared their cautious optimism, saying: “The Turkish Cypriot LGBT community has waited long enough for decriminalisation.

“I call on all the stakeholders to work together to ensure that a single set of measures to decriminalise homosexuality are tabled without delay.

“When I next visit the island next year, I look forward to celebrating with my LGBT friends in the north part of Cyprus as they embark upon a new era of equality.”

In a meeting with Mrs Yannakoudakis, Dr Eroglu said today: “We are going to help [the political parties] to do it in a much more speedy manner,” adding “I am going to spend effort to have this law go to the assembly.”

Mrs Yannakoudakis welcomed the positive response saying: “The time is right and it seems that the political will is finally there. Now the Turkish Cypriots must act and keep their promise to me to respect human rights.”