Turkish gov’t to take a child back from foster family for 10 years over links to Gülen movement

Turkish government has added a new cruelty to its numerous persecutions targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement on Monday. According to an article written by human rights activist and columnist Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu in Artı Gerçek online news outlet, an adopted daughter of a Gümüşhane family is going to be taken by the government officials from the family after 10 years to back her to an orphanage again over her foster father’s alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The article said that Recep Kılıç and his wife, who live in in Şirince district of Gümüşhane province,  adopted a girl who was given to orphanage by her divorced parents. Kılıç family with two daughters has become a real and compassionate family for the 5-year-old adopted girl named Sevgi.

However, Recep Kılıç was arrested and put into jail in the wake of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 over his alleged links to the Gülen movement. He was eventually released after being kept in jail for one year. However, Recep Kılıç has experienced a bigger tragedy when he received a notification that his adopted daughter would be taken back to the orphanage.

An official from Turkey’s Ministry of Family and Social Policy in late November 2016 had told media that authorities may remove children from homes if their guardians are found to be supporters of the coup attempt. He/she said it would not be right for a child to remain with a foster family if links to “FETÖ,” a phrase used by the government to refer to the Gülen movement as a terror organization, are confirmed as a result of investigations.

Gergerlioğlu described the drama of the Kılıç family as follows:

“While talking to the children in an orphanage which had been visited by Recep Kılıç and his family in previous years, the family was very impressed that Recep Kılıç was called ‘father’ and his wife was called ‘mother’ by the kids. After that his wife said ‘I will not leave without getting a child from here.’ Despite having two daughters, they became a foster family for a 5-year-old girl. This girl was a divorced parent’s child.

They have seen burn marks of cigarette and bruises on the child’s body. The girl, who did not want to go to her own mother and father, embraced the new family with great love. Recep Kılıç, who called the girl ‘my swarthy daughter Sevgi,’ has not separated her from his children like his own child. Because of the psychological trauma she experienced, they have made great efforts to improve her studies.

They were visited and honored by the Governor in Gümüşhane for being the first foster family. Recep Kılıç had brain cancer in the meantime. He was arrested after the July 15 coup attempt. They did not provide the necessary tumor control that was supposed to be done every 3 months during the detention period, and they had great difficulties. But none of them upset the family, as the news reached them lately.

Gümüşhane Family and Social Services Directorate stated that they would take back Sevgi with a letter recently sent. The family had a great shock, they could not believe this statement, and they requested for the reversal of decision. But they replied ‘the state will take back the child because of your arrest.’

Recep Kılıç could not understand this decision because there has been no definite court conviction about him yet. He said, ‘If I am the problem, I will divorce my wife having 27 year of marriage, just do not spoil this happy picture, I am ready to do everything for that.’ He could not get a result even though he went to Ankara and contacted the authorities.

The family is miserable right now. The child will be taken back on Tuesday. The whole family wailed and cried when the officials coming home with diabetic mother lying sickly in a coma declared that they would take the child on Tuesday. It is not possible to explain Sevgi’s psychology while hugging her siblings in crying.

The father cries out ‘They will rip our hearth.’ I wonder a lot how the executives, who did not consider the psychology of the family while notifying the decision to the family, can take this decision in a calm way. How will they be able to explain this decision to themselves when they are alone with their consciences? They cannot say to me ‘This is the rule.” Which rule may be above the law and the conscience. It is not possible to accept this practice.

There is a great mourning in the house of the Kılıç family. Sevgi, who is very happy at home, does not want to go to dorm. What is the purpose of this practice that the family and the child do not want? What is the reason that a 15-year-old girl is being taken away from a warm, safe family? Can government officials, family minister, explain this to me? In a state of law, people can be judged, but how can a decision raising such cries be taken before the trial ends?

There is a father saying ‘Please don’t give this pain,’ a mother with severe diabetes, and sisters who are inseparable from each other. In such a scenario, it is not humane to separate the people who are surrounded by love with an unacceptable reason, to take the young girl back. I do not understand what resentment can take these decisions. I know if the arbitrariness prevails it is meaningless to say anything.

This is the thing done instead of awarding a gold medal to the family with loving mother and father. But, I am unable to accept it, I declare it all over Turkey that today we shall embrace this girl and cancel the return process. We can accomplish this, we have everything to cancel the practice that these consciences can not accept. We have our minds, feelings, desires, compassion, conscience, mercy. Thank God.

I think that social pressure can stop the decisions which are not acceptable by the social conscience and that we can provide our response to the departments, especially the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, in order to shed tears of joy in this oppressed family through the social media channels. Come on, it is not late.”

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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