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Greco-Turkish Cypriot Mariages

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Greco-Turkish Cypriot Mariages

Postby Alasya » Sat Nov 27, 2004 10:51 pm

Bridging the Cypriot marriage divide

BREAKING a long-standing taboo, Cypriot MPs are seeking to amend the island's constitution to allow the divided communities of Orthodox Greek Cypriots and Muslim Turkish Cypriots to intermarry.

The constitution is particularly harsh on love-struck Turkish Cypriots who live in the ethnically Greek south, as they cannot marry anyone outside their small community in a civil ceremony.

"Any civil marriage by a Turkish Cypriot with a Greek Cypriot or with a foreigner is considered illegal," said George Christofides, one of three MPs who have drafted a proposal to change the constitution.

"It is a sensitive issue, but we are treating it as a matter of human rights and trying to avoid any political confrontations," he said.

Under the 1960 constitution, all marriages in Cyprus had to be performed by the Cyprus Orthodox Church.

A 1990 measure provided for civil marriage, but only for the Greek Cypriot community.

"This is against each individual's human rights," Christofides said.

He said the Cyprus government has been taken to the European Court of Human Rights by a Turkish Cypriot, who was forced to marry his Romanian wife outside the island.

"We are expecting a judgement in two or three months, so the government must restore Turkish Cypriot human rights on this matter as soon as possible," said Christofides.

The Cyprus Orthodox Church lets Turkish Cypriots marry Greeks, but only if they convert, which happens rarely.

Amending the constitution in favour of Turkish Cypriots is widely considered a vote-losing exercise for the Greek Cypriot parliament at a time when the northern third of the island is occupied by Turkey, which invaded in 1974 in response to an Athens-backed coup in Nicosia.

Only about 1000 Turkish Cypriots still live in southern Cyprus.-- Sapa

( Monday, January 29, 2001 in Dispatch, South Africa.)
http://www.dispatch.co.za/2001/01/29/fe ... RRAIGE.HTM
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Postby Alasya » Sat Nov 27, 2004 10:53 pm

Case of Kemal Selim Vs Republic of Cyprus

Case of Kemal Selim Vs Republic of Cyprus



On May 2nd 2002, the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus voted the ratification of the civil marriage law 1990 (Law 21/90). The main feature of this ratification was the extension of the applicability of this law to Turkish-Cypriots, who up to that point were legally unable to conclude civil marriages under Cypriot law. The change was largely the result of Kemal Selim’s law suit against the Republic of Cyprus at the European Court of Human rights (Application no. 47293/99) –a case that concluded in ‘friendly settlement’ on July 16th 2002.

Kemal Selim is not a prominent personality in Cyprus. He is one of the few Turkish-Cypriots who have chosen to live in the southern part of the island following the division of 1974, to stay in his native village of Potamya, even if that meant living under a government that has, since 1963, been staffed by Greek-Cypriots. Indeed, the Turkish-Cypriots living in southern Cyprus have, like Kemal, no access to particular citizen’s rights that were granted them in the Republic’s constitution of 1960 as members of the “Turkish community of Cyprus” but that were deemed inapplicable to them following the breakdown of the political partnership between Greek- and Turkish- Cypriots that the same constitution envisioned.

Selim’s case is, in this sense, indicative of the difficulties that Turkish-Cypriots in the south contend with in their dealings with the state. In another sense, it is indicative of the encroachment of the political conflict on individual and personal matters that might appear to have ‘nothing to do’ with politics. Kemal Selim lives under a government for which he cannot vote, despite the fact that he pays taxes to it. Many Turkish-Cypriots in this situation are reminded of this three times every five years (at parliamentary, presidential and local election time) and continue to live variably normal lives. Some are also content to conclude weddings abroad, which the Republic usually recognises. Yet in cases like Kemal’s, where his wife happened to be Romanian, authorities may appear more reluctant to let the case roll smoothly through the wheels of bureaucracy. Faced with the limitations of his Turkish-Cypriot-ness at a crucial stage in his life, Kemal Selim filed against the Republic and won the amendment of a law that in making civil marriages legal in the Republic (where only religious ones were up to that point legally recognised) provided that “this Law shall not apply to any marriage in which either of the parties is a Turk professing the Moslem faith”.

The significance of this case is tremendous as regards the human rights record of the Republic –having settled the case through a compensation fee and the law amendment, the Republic in effect brought its legislation slightly closer to European Union principles. Turkish-Cypriots can now marry through civil ceremonies in southern Cyprus. Yet how many of them actually do so, and why those who don’t choose the other alternatives on offer, is a matter for further reflection and investigation. The fact that a Turkish-Cypriot couple made the news in March 2003 for holding a Greek Orthodox Church wedding after both bride and groom were baptised, inevitably raises such questions in a country that otherwise advertises wedding holidays and has become famous in neighbouring Israel for being the perfect location for inter-communal weddings.



For further information on this case, follow the links below:

Summary of the Chamber Judgement
Full Text of Judgement
Adminissibility Decision by ECHR
Collection of Greek- and Turkish- Cypriot press coverage of this issue
Civil marriage law of the Republic of Cyprus 1990 [under construction]
Amendment to the civil marriage law as of 2002 [under construction]
Other related reports
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Gay Cypriots

Postby Alasya » Sat Nov 27, 2004 11:26 pm

I m sure there are many gay relations too between the two cypriot communities. Gay Cypriots theres something for you too, check out this guide from Northern Cyprus, its part of a greater gay Turkey guide. It has the addresses of blue movie cinemas, gay bars, restaurants and businesses, if you are that way inclined.

http://turkeygayguide.tripod.com/cyprus.html (North Cyprus Gay Guide)
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Postby brother » Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:26 pm

I did not know that tc were under that sort of backward law.
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