Dutch deputy PM hits back at Turkey in adoption row

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The Netherlands hit back at Turkey Friday over a bid to return a boy adopted by Dutch lesbians to his Turkish mother, with the row threatening to overshadow a visit by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan next week.

"I find it presumptuous of a foreign power, whoever it might be, to have such a viewpoint, based on the views or religion of the adoptive parents," Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher told journalists after a cabinet meeting.

Dutch media reported Friday that the lesbian parents of the nine-year-old boy known as "Yunus" have gone into hiding after attempts by Turkey to have him reunited with his biological mother.

Turkey has embarked on a campaign to retrieve children of Turkish immigrant families living in Europe who are fostered by foreigners, and instead place them in homes where their cultural identity can be preserved.

Turkey's Islamist-rooted government fears that children placed in Christian homes will forget their roots, and also disapproves of placements with gay couples.

Yunus, who is a Dutch citizen, was adopted by the Hague-based couple when he was a baby, but his biological mother told Dutch public broadcaster NOS that she wanted him back.

"I'm sad because my child is now with a family that has a totally different culture that does not relate to ours," the unidentified mother said.

"How would you feel if your child lived with lesbians?" she said.

Ayhan Ustun, who chairs the Turkish parliament's Human Rights Research Commission, confirmed to the NOS it had taken up the case. He added that Turkey had every justification to get involved in adoption cases in Western countries.

"The people we are talking about are our citizens and our race. It would be wrong of a country not to speak about its citizens," he said.

Asscher said Dutch authorities adhered to strict adoption criteria, saying the child's best interests were always being taken into account.

"Selection is not done based on race or religion. It doesn't fit the Netherlands and the values we have," he said.

"It is absolutely improper to allege that the youngster was being mistreated," he added.

He said Dutch Premier Mark Rutte would discuss the issue with his Turkish counterpart Erdogan, due in the Netherlands on Thursday for a one-day official visit.

"I am convinced the Turkish authorities will be completely put at ease after the talks have ended," he said.

Diplomatic ties between the Netherlands and Turkey stretch back more than 400 years, and there are around 393,000 Dutch citizens of Turkish descent in the Netherlands.

© 2013 AFP

1 Comment To This Article

  • enniamerrican posted:

    on 18th March 2013, 14:07:37 - Reply

    I agree with Sjakie. I really don't get it how Dutch tax payers' money can just go randomly to addresses in foreign countries. God knows who it ends up with.