Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fergie's Investigation of Turkish Orphanages Causes Row

PHOTO FROM The Independent

From TDN:
State Minister Nimet Çubukçu responded yesterday to observations made by the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, after entering two Turkish orphanages undercover.

Çubukçu said the European Committee to Prevent Torture, in a recent secret inspection, had concluded rehabilitation centers in Turkey met international standards, despite some inadequacies.

Ferguson had gone undercover and entered the orphanages to record the institutions conditions and its treatment of mentally disabled children for a documentary.

Çubukçu said the footage, which showed a girl tied at the wrist, had been taken at the Saray rehabilitation center and that there was a huge gap between this footage and Ferguson's comments.

"Ferguson claimed that women were lying in pairs on filthy beds. But there is no such footage," Çubukçu said, adding that tying mentally disabled children's hands for reasons of medical necessity is a worldwide practice. "It is not me who asserts this. Please ask an expert."

The minister said attempts to prevent broadcast of the footage on British television continue, adding that Turkish channels already aired the footage. The Duchess's visit was covered by newspaper British Mail On Sunday's correspondent Chris Rogers of the Independent Television News, or ITN.

Ferguson's motivation is strange, as she has no formal duty or mission in Turkey, Çubukçu said. "Places she claimed were orphanages were actually mental institutions. Any initiative on these issues should only be undertaken with expert consultation," Çubukçu said, adding the ministry's inspection results will come out late Wednesday.

"Turkey is in negotiations with the European Union, it is a member of the European Council and will sign the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights very soon. Turkey is not cut off from the world. It is open to inspections of international institutions. The Committee of Human Rights also makes surprise visits and their opinions on the institution are positive," Çubukçu said.
See coverage from today's Independent.

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