Diplomatic row looms over lesbian foster family for Turkish boy

Interference by the Turkish authorities in the fostering of a nine-year-old boy by a Dutch lesbian couple is ‘totally inappropriate’, deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher said on Friday afternoon.

It is presumptious of foreign officials to judge the way Yunus, who is nine, has been taken into foster care, Asscher said. ‘In the Netherlands you are not taken away from your parents just like that,’ he said, adding that foster parents are extremely carefully chosen.

Earlier on Friday it emerged the couple, who have looked after the boy since he was a few months old, have gone into hiding with Yunus because of the commotion.

Appeal

Last week the boy’s birth mother made an emotional television appeal for her son’s return, leading to widespread debate in Turkey itself. She has also asked Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for help.

Erdogan will visit the Netherlands next week and some expect him to raise the fostering issue.

A Turkish parliamentary commission is currently researching the fostering of Muslim children by gay or Christian couples, which they say will lead to them becoming estranged from their cultural background.

School

Child social services in The Hague say they are extremely concerned about the ongoing debate. ‘The situation means Yunus cannot go to school,’ one official told Nos television.

No direct threats have been made but the family have now been moved to a different address, officials say.

The two mothers have done a fantastic job, one told the Volkskrant. ‘They have explored his ethnic background, visited Turkey and are learning Turkish. But this witch hunt means they are continually being questioned, at school, in the street, in the bakers,’ a spokeswoman said.

Family

The boy’s natural parents took their two other children to family in Turkey to avoid them being fostered by the same couple, the Volkskrant reported. This led to the parents spending a short time in prison for kidnapping, the paper said.

It is not clear from the media coverage why the children were taken into care.

Junior health minister Martin van Rijn said the couple ‘deserve a statue not criticism’ for their role. And justice minister Ivo Opstelten said he considered the situation to be ‘extremely serious’.

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