Turks divided about Yunus’ faith

ISTANBUL – Turks don’t seem to be unanimous in their opinion about the faith of 9 year old Yunus, who was placed in the foster care of a Dutch lesbian couple after Dutch authorities took him away from his abusive Dutch-Turkish parents. The matter already overshadows a visit of the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to the Netherlands this week. Erdogan accused Holland of ‘assimilation’, the Dutch government considers his remarks an inappropriate interference in domestic affairs. Some Turks seem to mainly worry about the separation of the family, while others are bothered by the fact the foster parents are lesbians.

The whole matter doesn’t seem to be a huge item in Turkey. Many people don’t know the story, or only heard about it vaguely and want to know more before they form an opinion.

Bus driver Tüncay Özmen (48, father of three children) wonders if enough has been done to stop the violence in Yunus’ family, but strongly condemns it: ‘In Turkey a child can be taken from such a family too. It will be placed in a home and the state will take care of it until it is eighteen years old.’

That Yunus was placed in the care of a lesbian couple doesn’t particularly bother him: ‘That’s not the biggest problem, as long as that family is safe. But the main point is, I think, that a child should grow up with its own mother and father. Your own family can’t be replaced.’

Hüseyin Üyar (43), who works as a customs officer, has heard about Yunus on TV. ‘The violence is of course the worst. The Dutch state has the right to take a child away from such a family, definitely. But what I don’t understand is that he is placed in a family with sick parents.  That’s off the frying pan into the fire, isn’t it? Homosexuality is a disease; you shouldn’t do that to a child.’

Filiz Keskin (33 year old receptionist) overhears the conversation and inquires what it’s about. ‘I totally agree’, she says. ‘Homosexuality is horrible. Aren’t there any other families? Turks, other foreigners, Dutch? That would be way better.’

Ferhat (21, student and gay himself) doesn’t know the Yunus-story, but gets excited when he hears about it. ‘So the Dutch state places an abused child in the foster care of a lesbian couple? Amazing that that is possible. In the Netherlands gays can also get married, isn’t that so? What a country! I like it. I mean, this way a child learns to have a broader outlook than his own culture, and I suppose this family will teach him some respect towards women too. Very good. I hope Yunus will be happy.’

3 replies
  1. Jan
    Jan says:

    The 2 countries should let each others culture prevale. One culture cannot put it’s rules upon the other. In Turkey homesexuality is still a desease. I have a marocan 16 jear old girl in my group, she believes that there is no such thing (homo’s) in her country !
    in Holland, luckely, people with an other sexual interest, do’nt have to hide. It’s there and it will not go away, or will not be cured. Lots of luck to all those people in Turkey.
    But do’nt go and try to convince each other – it’s the culture (it has to develope)

  2. Mesut
    Mesut says:

    A child needs a father and a mother figure in his/her childhood to grow sound and healthy (at mind). This is the natural way (hundred thousands years of instincts requires it). Please note that I am not against gay people.

    I do not even mention to put a child to quite opposite of his/her people’s cultural background. This is very similar to last century’s Australian policy of adopting aborigine children to white-christian foster houses; assimilation without asking approval. Mind me, I do not oppose assimilation with approval.

  3. Nikephoros
    Nikephoros says:

    Frederik, I see no divide, Turks are pretty unanimous. Only the Turk who was gay dissented, out of self-interest. This whole row is another case of Turkish chauvinism and bigotry. Most the Turkish press and politicians on this issue are just lamenting that the foster parents are not Turkish enough, that they are not fellow Mahometans and that they are lesbian(which is forbidden under Islam). However, even the Turkish language English press admits quoting Aygul Ozkan, that Turks in Europe generally will not volunteer to adopt or foster. So what is at issue is two aspects of Turkish identity: Turkishness and Islam. According to the infamous Turkish penal code Article 301, there is a clause against insulting Turkishness and the penalties actually increase by a third for those living abroad with Turkish citizenship(like most European Turks). One Turkish religious authority, Büyükçelebi, writes that Islam “has prohibited illicit sexual relations and all ways that lead to them, as well as homosexuality.” This is the crux of it all, as the Turkish side lacks any comments on the parenting abilities involved or the question of abuse. Actually in the Turkish mind, Turkishness is equal to goodness, they even have a popular slogan created by Ataturk and oft repeated: “A Turk is equal to all the world.” How can Dutch lesbians compete in the eyes of such bias? If you want sources for all the above references, they are here.


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