Government officials in Turkey are campaigning to take back Turkish children who were adopted by overseas Christian or gay couples, saying those lifestyles don’t coincide with the nation’s Islamic values.
The Turkish site Hurriyet Daily News reports on the campaign to retrieve the adoptees who were given to Christian couples in European countries. According to the article, the first step in the campaign is to take them away from gay and lesbian couples. Hurriyet reports:
One of the main cases included in the campaign revolves around 9-year-old Yunus, who was taken from his parents at the age of six months after his parents allegedly dropped him on the ground. The child was then placed under the care of a lesbian couple in the Netherlands.
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ instructed Turkish representatives in foreign countries to jumpstart the process to take Yunus back from the family, including making official contacts with the Dutch government.
Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission was also instructed to conduct searches in other countries and prepare a report on the matter.
Ayhan Sefer Üstün who heads the commission called the raising of a child in his or her own culture “a sacred right” that should be determined via the judicial process, not administrative decisions.
“We don’t condemn that culture, but the child has been given to a foreign culture, to a lesbian family. Even if a child is taken from the family for the right reasons, he or she should be placed with a family closer to his or her culture,” Üstün said.
Nine-year-old Yunus’s family had in the past appealed for his return, but was rejected by the courts. The Turkish paper reports that the application was denied, because the mother did not speak Dutch, a reason that does not appear to be plausible.
The paper reports that Deputy Prime Minister Bozdağ said that Turkish authorities plan to appeal on the diplomatic front, while in parallel, officials will work via the courts on the family’s behalf, claiming the adoption caused “a violation of human rights and psychological damage done to the child.”
The LGBT publication 429Magazine asked the Turkish Human Rights Commission to comment, but did not receive a response.
The treatment of children in Turkish orphanages was shown in a negative light in 2008 when Britain’s Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and a television crew filmed at two state-run orphanages. According to British media accounts, undercover footage showed children tied to their beds, left in their cots all day, dressed in rags, some with shaven heads. Turkey tried Ferguson in absentia. She faces charges of going “against the law in acquiring footage and violating privacy” which carry a maximum sentence of 22 and ½ years in prison.
Ferguson said, “I went in there to highlight the plight of children and I have.”
“Now it seems that I have embarrassed the Turkish Government. Well, let’s hope that I have embarrassed them enough in order for them to make changes in the welfare of their children,” she added.
A similar adoption debate is playing out in Spain which has agreed to a Moroccan demand that Spanish families who adopt Moroccan children will maintain the child’s Muslim religious and cultural heritage.
Soeren Kern of the Gatestone Institute reported Wednesday: “The agreement obliges the Spanish government to establish a ‘control mechanism’ that would enable Moroccan religious authorities to monitor the children until they reach the age of 18 to ensure they have not converted to Christianity.”