THE HAGUE, Netherlands, March 22, 2013 ( – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte after a boy was taken from his Turkish parents in the Netherlands and placed in the foster care of a lesbian couple.

Erdoğan was on a trade mission to the Netherlands when he told Rutte that placing a child from a Muslim background with lesbians could breach his nation's ''moral and religious values.''

Erdoğan told Rutte that greater cooperation between the ministries that oversee child care in the two countries could ''prevent this kind of problem so the strong relationship between our countries is not weakened,'' according to an AP report.

Rutte rebuffed the prime minister, saying, “The placing of Dutch foster children is the responsibility of the Netherlands alone. Nobody else.”

The biological mother of nine-year-old Yunus reportedly appeared on Turkish television earlier this month and called on Erdoğan to intervene in the case.

She said that apparently an accidental fall from a poorly fastened baby sling when Yunus was an infant was part of the reason he was removed from her care.

Turkish politicians have complained about children of Turkish ancestry being raised by people of other faiths, homosexuals, or those whose values are not those of a child's Muslim parents, the AP report explained.

However, Rutte said the Netherlands makes an effort to “take into account as much as possible the cultural and religious background of the child,” but this is not always possible due to a lack of foster parents.

“It would be good if there were more families … from other communities, from the Islamic community, prepared to take on foster children,” Rutte said.

Protests erupted after the mother's plea on Turkish TV.

A demonstration in Rotterdam drew 150 people, who objected to the child’s placement with the lesbians, AP reported.

This prompted The Hague Youth Services Agency to send the boy and the same-sex couple to an undisclosed location, although officials said there was no specific threat against Yunus or the lesbians.

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Yunus and his lesbian foster parents should “stay at another address for a time, partly in connection with the visit of the [Turkish] prime minister,” Youth Services Agency spokeswoman Tanja van Dijk told national broadcaster NOS.


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