Redd Våre Barn
24 June 2006
The Manavgat "child custody" case in Turkey –
the Norwegian authorities are the kidnappers
By Marianne Haslev Skanland, Bergen, Norway
A coming court case in Turkey has been reported several times on Norwegian tv and in the press over the last couple of months. The reports here are skewed to suit official Norwegian ideology as practiced by our authorities, to the detriment of families. It is important that the people of Turkey should be informed that the Turkish family which has been hit by the actions of the Norwegian state are in good company – with several thousand Norwegian individuals and families who try to defend themselves against similar actions from the authorities here.
It is impossible to know fully from the Norwegian press reports the true facts of the case, since the Norwegian press and media are very authority-obedient in this kind of social issue. The authorities themselves only state whatever suits their purpose and regularly hinder information from the victims. I therefore do not know the name of the Turkish couple or their lawyer but would like to ask any reader in Turkey or anybody with connections there to try and pass on to them this information about the state of child protection in Norway, if possible before the case goes to court.
What can be understood from the press is as follows:
A married couple from Turkey have been settled in Stavanger in Norway with their two sons. The Norwegian social authorities (the CPS - child protection services) took their children away from them 4 years ago and placed the children in a Norwegian foster-home. The children were then about 5 and 7 years old.
The children have been prevented from keeping up their Turkish language (there is no information of any other possible language background of the parents) and have also not been brought up as Muslims, although that is what the parents want. The authorities have curtailed every contact between parents and children as much as possible. Still, the boys fortunately still have their Turkish citizenship. (The popular ideology here is for the courts to take away all parental rights to children taken by the social services, and adopt away foster children against the will of biological parents.)
The biological parents had to flee back to Turkey because the mother was pregnant again and the Norwegian social services were planning to take that child as well. They are now living in Turkey.
Then, a couple of months ago the Norwegian foster parents went to Manavgat with the two boys for a holiday. The biological parents probably had some sort of contact and knew about this, because they have tried to take the boys back. This is portrayed in the Norwegian media as the parents kidnapping children to whom they have no bonds and have no rights.
The boys, now about 9 and 11 years old, seem to have been completely brain-washed against their parents by the Norwegian foster parents and child protection authorities, and are said to be frightened of their parents.
There is evidently going to be a court case in Manavgat starting on the 3rd July. In the meantime the foster parents tried to take the boys out of Turkey but were stopped and are not permitted to do so, which is at least something to be thankful for.
The Norwegian propaganda has a free run. The social services spend large sums translating their reports into Turkish and sending their lawyer to Turkey, to hold press conferences there and present the Norwegian social services as almost saintly assistance to children and the foster parents as wonderful. The foster parents are allowed free access on tv, and say that since the boys have been with them for 4 years that is of course where they belong and that if the Turkish courts decide that the boys should be returned to their biological parents, then the foster parents will take the boys and flee to some other country. This is portrayed as heroic. Nobody in Norway is given the possibility of coming forward to say the same of the actions of the biological parents, who cannot forget their children. Their love for their children, who have not only been "placed" with them for 4 years, is condemned as criminal and their action trying to defend their family, first against the social services and then against the foster parents, is condemned as kidnapping.
Such action on the part of the authorities in a so-called welfare state like Norway – the action of taking children from their parents, paying foster parents large sums over several years, and mobilising lawyers and the press in order to stop the biological parents from having their children returned to them – I am sure must strike you as very serious and one's first thought is that the parents must be dangerous criminals, possibly child molesters. However, this is very unlikely.
I have, together with other people who have seen the actions of the Nordic child protection authorities over a number of years now, experienced that the field of social work relating to children has gone quite in the wrong direction here. There are so many thousand social workers, psychologists etc who need jobs that the majority of child "protection" cases are simply created by them and are without foundation in fact. It is an industry. The result is that we "oppositionals" have had to try and start up information about the ugly truth: the actions of the social authorities simply destroy families, with terrible results above all for the children. The suffering of the parents is also almost beyond belief. I can tell you that there are new families ringing us up every week, people in the process of being deprived of their children on the basis of false accusations, people whose children have been taken and who are condemned for trying to get them back. They have a hard time understanding that this is not some accidental error, which will quickly be rectified by talking to the social services or will at least be quashed in court.
There are many research reports about the ill effects of the child protection industry internationally, and they all show the same negative results for children deprived of their real families – they quite often experience it as a total destruction of their childhood and even of the rest of their lives, not to mention how it affects the children that the authorities have also destroyed the lives of the parents. The social personnel in power and the political authorities close their eyes entirely to this and continue their vilification of parents. They also try to stop any information that does not suit their book, and if possible punish and ostracise those who raise their voice against the destruction of families.
I know personally a number of parents, and some children, who have been victims of such family destruction. I have also functioned as an expert witness in court, both here and in Sweden, for parents desperately trying to get their children back from the authorities, and have read all documents including court judgments in many dozen other cases as well. I have to say that it is the rule, not the exception, that the authorities come up with unfounded accusations about parents and children, and are permitted by the courts to do so. The same sort of development is taking place in other countries as well, but the Nordic countries are probably somewhat extreme. My assessment is that the reason is the affluence here, which makes it possible for the authorities to spend millions on wholely destructive actions against families instead of on real social work and assistance to the aged, the sick and the poor. The social services are extra active against families of non-Nordic origin.
In this particular case, according to newspaper reports the husband has been involved in some narcotics business and is also said to be violent. One cannot at all be sure of the truth or seriousness of such accusations against parents at all, they are found in every child protection case, and can often be proven to be false – but the children are taken nevertheless. The father has said that his dealings with drugs started when their children were taken from them. Nothing is said about the mother in the case but the regular thing for the social authorities is that they claim that parents are "unsuited". As regards all the actions of the Norwegian authorities and foster parents against the parents in this case, they are exactly of the type that we see in practically every case.
I can tell you that we have cases here of parents – unfortunately few – who see the danger early enough, and take their children and flee abroad. The Norwegian authorities pursue them even abroad if they can, turn up with "impressive court verdicts" and try to have children and parents extradited, the parents being taken to court for prison sentences.
There was a newspaper interview with the Norwegian lawyer of the biological mother a couple of days ago. Unfortunately she seems completely subservient to the usual official Norwegian views, so what good she can do for her client is difficult to understand. I can only hope that they have a Turkish lawyer who is more firm, more ethical, and less frightened, so that the biological parents can have their children restored to them.
I should very much have liked some information about the experiences of Norwegian victims of the child protection industry to be passed on to the Turkish public and at least to the Turkish lawyer of this couple, before the court case starts. There are a couple of Nordic web sites which have information in English (and some in French and German):
Especially the first of these has a very wide range of articles in English. Very serious consideration should be given to the articles by Siv Westerberg, the Swedish lawyer who has been the most active in taking such cases against Sweden to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. I know of the Kurd cases against Turkey in Strasbourg, but I hope that any "national" misgivings people in Turkey might have on that count would not prevent them from looking impartially at the child protection cases – in which our Nordic authorities do not in fact protect children at all.
If this information can reach anybody in Turkey and perhaps do a little to help this Turkish couple and their children, who have without any doubt been very harmfully treated by the Norwegian social authorities, we should be very grateful. Information, publicity, warning about the child protection industry also helps new potential victims to be forewarned.