Tur­key tar­gets foster fam­i­lies in post-coup crack­down Rights groups, EU rat­tled by ex­tent of crack­down

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Turk­ish author­i­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing foster fam­i­lies for sus­pected ties to a failed coup and may re­move chil­dren from homes if their guardians are found to be sup­port­ers of the putsch, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day. The gov­ern­ment has so far de­tained or dis­missed 125,000 peo­ple over al­leged links to the net­work of Fethul­lah Gulen, a US-based Mus­lim cleric ac­cused by Ankara of or­ches­trat­ing the July 15 coup.

Gulen, who lives in self-im­posed ex­ile in the state of Penn­syl­va­nia, has de­nied in­volve­ment in the putsch and con­demned it. The scope of the crack­down has alarmed hu­man rights groups and Tur­key’s West­ern al­lies who fear Pres­i­dent Tayyip Er­do­gan is us­ing the coup as a pre­text to cur­tail dis­sent. The gov­ern­ment says its in­ves­ti­ga­tions are nec­es­sary to stamp out the in­flu­ence of Gulen’s net­work, which it refers to as the “Gu­lenist Ter­ror Or­gan­i­sa­tion”, or “FETO”.

“It would not be right for a child to re­main with a (foster) fam­ily if links to FETO are confirmed as a re­sult of the ex­am­i­na­tions,” the of­fi­cial from the Min­istry of Fam­ily and So­cial Pol­icy said. The of­fi­cial, who de­clined to be iden­ti­fied, said the in­ves­ti­ga­tions had been go­ing on since Au­gust 23. “This is a slow process in which de­tailed ex­am­i­na­tions are be­ing car­ried out. So it is out of the ques­tion for chil­dren to be sud­denly ripped away from their fam­i­lies,” the of­fi­cial said, adding that the psy­cho­log­i­cal health of the chil­dren was be­ing closely mon­i­tored.

Around 5,000 foster fam­i­lies and some re­lated in­sti­tu­tions are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, the pro-gov­ern­ment Yeni Safak news­pa­per re­ported. The gov­ern­ment has also cut off co­op­er­a­tion with four child­care-re­lated NGOs as part of its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the news­pa­per said. Last week Euro­pean law­mak­ers voted for a tem­po­rary halt to EU mem­ber­ship talks with Tur­key, cit­ing Ankara’s “dis­pro­por­tion­ate” re­ac­tion to the coup over the past four months.

Lux­em­bourg’s for­eign min­is­ter said this month that Tur­key’s han­dling of dis­missed civil ser­vants re­minded him of meth­ods used by the Nazis and that even­tu­ally the EU would have to re­spond with sanc­tions. Such com­ments have in­fu­ri­ated Ankara, which has crit­i­cized Europe for a lack of sol­i­dar­ity fol­low­ing the coup. Er­do­gan last week warned the EU that Tur­key could un­leash a new wave of mi­grants on Europe if re­la­tions de­te­ri­o­rated fur­ther. — Reuters

ALEPPO: A mem­ber of Syr­ian pro-gov­ern­ment forces in­spects an area in the Masaken Hanano district in east­ern Aleppo, a day af­ter they re­seized it from rebel fight­ers. — AFP

IS­TAN­BUL: Tur­key’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan shakes hands with his sup­port­ers on Nov 26, 2016. — AP

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