The Turkish government has launched an effort to retrieve Turkish children who have been adopted in European countries by Christians, starting the process with gay and lesbian parents.
One of the main cases centers around 9-year-old Yunis, who was taken from his Turkish parents at the age of 6 months, after his parents reportedly dropped him on the ground. Yunis was then placed in the care of a lesbian couple in the Netherlands and has resided with them ever since.
The Turkish Parliament's Human Rights Commissioner, Ayhan Sefer Üstün, has spearheaded the legislation, wanting to jumpstart the process of retrieving Turkish children from foreign parents. Üstün is arguing that it is a human rights issue because of 'psychological damage' to the child and because of a 'sacred right' the child has to his own culture.
429Magazine has requested a comment from the Turkish Human Rights Commission, but has yet to receive a response.
Üstün said in an official report that, “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.”
In the past year, Turkey has filed lawsuits against international rights activist and Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, for launching an investigation into childcare in the city of Ankara. Wearing a black scarf and other items to disguise herself, Sarah Ferguson managed to film the conditions, with children in cages and chained to beds. “I went in there to highlight the plight of children and I have," said Ferguson. "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.”
Yunis' family in the Netherlands have yet to give the child up to the Turkish authorities and are appealing their case. The family that Yunis was taken from have applied to courts previously for his return, but the courts rejected the application.
In Turkey, LGBT individuals are not deemed fit to parent. Turkey does not recognize same-sex unions or domestic partnerships. The Turkish Council of State has ruled that homosexuals should not have custody of children. Former Minister of Family Affairs, Selma Aliye Kavaf, has said, “"I believe homosexuality is a biological disorder and this disease needs treatment."