AMSTERDAM – Turkey has launched a campaign to retrieve Turkish children that have been adopted by gay and Catholic couples in European countries, reports Hurriyet Daily News.

Currently at the center of the debate is nine-year-old Yunus, the child of Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands, who is currently in foster care with a Dutch lesbian couple.

According to Die Welt, Dutch social services took Yunus away from his biological parents when he was six-months-old, after he had been physically abused.

When the biological parents found out that their child was living with a lesbian couple, they alerted the Turkish press and contacted Prime Minister Erdogan asking for support. Now Ankara is backing the parents in calling for the return of the boy to them.

Turkey’s parliamentary Human Rights Commission says that at least 5,000 children of Turkish origin are living in foster care, including many in “questionable” (i.e. with Christian and/or gay parents) circumstances. Commission head Ayhan Sefer Ustun said custody of a child was a “sacred right” that should not be decided by administrative services, reported Hurriyet.

Some 400,000 persons of Turkish descent live in the Netherlands. Ankara is demanding that foster children grow up in Muslim families only, but Muslims in the Netherlands rarely undertake adoption proceedings.

On Thursday, Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to make a state visit to the Netherlands, and is expected to discuss the issue of Yunus with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher has attacked Erdogan: “The way the Turkish government is interfering in this matter is inappropriate and presumptuous," Die Welt reports Asscher as saying. "This is a boy with a Dutch passport. One of the nice things about our country is that we Dutch can lead our lives the way we want to, independent of the wishes of foreign powers."

[Erdogan - Photo ΠρωθυπουργÏŒς της Ελλάδας]

It is doubtful whether Erdogan’s visit will yield a solution to the issue. Some are even calling for the trip to be cancelled. Yunus and his foster moms are presently in hiding.