‘Turkish children adopted in Europe culturally assimilated’

July 05, 2012, Thursday/ 18:13:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Experts participating in a workshop in Ankara on youth and family have warned that Turkish children adopted by foreign families in European countries are exposed to “intensive cultural assimilation.”

Experts said this is the same for children of other nationalities, too. The workshop was held on Thursday by the Directorate of Turks Living Abroad and Relative Communities. Experts said there are practically no Turkish foster families in European countries and therefore orphaned Turkish children or children of poor Turkish families who cannot afford to raise their children are adopted by families of other nationalities, which results in an intensive cultural assimilation of these children.

Ömer Tunçdeniz, a counselor, who delivered a speech in the workshop, said he does not mean that Turkish children do not become assimilated by their foster families on purpose, but rather are influenced by the traditions of these Christian families. Another participant in the workshop, lawyer Ümit Vural, said there are 900 foster families in Vienna, and all are Christians. “There is no legal obstacle before Muslim families to become foster families,” he said, adding that the non-existence of Muslim foster families led children to be adopted by Christian families, which brings about a cultural and religious assimilation of these children.

However, Deniz Çatıkkaş, who works for the Youth and Child Protection Board in the Netherlands, also does not agree that Turkish or Muslim children are intentionally assimilated by their European foster families.

“Around 1,200 children [in the Netherlands] have been adopted by foster families [in the past couple of years], and most of them are Muslim. … We do not have the opportunity to supervise foster families the entire day. If a child is given to a foster family, s/he is influenced by the lifestyle of this family for sure. For example, the foster family decides to go to church over the weekend but has to take the foster child along because it has no place to leave the children [to be looked after until they return],” he said, adding that the problems of adopted Turkish or other Muslim children will be solved if more Muslim families become foster families.

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