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.’