Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis welcomed the realisation of her campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in the north part of Cyprus.

Today’s second reading approval by Turkish Cypriot deputies of an amendment to the island’s colonial era ban on gay sex marks the end of a long crusade by Yannakoudakis, the Turkish Cypriot LGBT community and human rights activists.

The bill still needs to be endorsed by Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, but the London MEP has received numerous assurances from Dr. Eroglu on her visits to the north part of the island that he supports the bill and will sign it into law.

Mrs Yannakoudakis said: “I congratulate the Turkish Cypriot LGBT community on finally being able to exercise the most basic human right of all – the right to love.

“I am proud to have stood up for Turkish Cypriot LGBTs and hope that my efforts to put pressure on Dr. Eroglu and other politicians have helped speed up the process of decriminalisation.

“As other Commonwealth countries such as Nigeria and Uganda impose increasingly draconian measures to persecute LGBT people, I hope that people will learn from Cyprus that the anti-gay legacy of Britain’s colonial past should be scrapped and not strengthened”