Turk and Saudi couples meet 'real sons'

Turkish and Saudi couples whose sons were switched at birth in a Saudi hospital four years ago met their biological sons for the first time on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia's south-western province of Najran.

Turk and Saudi couples meet 'real sons'
The Turkish Cüce family and the Saudi al-Minjem family met their respective "real" sons for the first time on Tuesday at the initiative of the Turkish Embassy in Riyadh after the boys were mistakenly swapped at King Khaled Hospital some four years ago. Officials from the embassy and the Al-Minjem family paid a visit to the Cüce family in Najran. Reuniting with their real sons after four years, the parents burst into tears and hugged their biological sons. Giving several presents to his 4-year-old real son Yakup, Muhammad al-Minjem had difficulty expressing his emotions and thanked officials from the Turkish Embassy for facilitating the meeting of the two families. "I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to officials from the Turkish Embassy for the utmost efforts they exerted to help us reunite with our biological sons. They have shown that they attach great importance to our desperate situation. I'm glad we were reunited with our biological sons before they grew up. It may have been more difficult if such an incident had been exposed after the boys grew older." he said.

"I would never have imagined that Ali, whom I have raised for four years with my wife, is not actually our real son. But, thank God, I believe in destiny. I think that this mix-up is an irony of fate." he continued.

Yusuf Cüce stressed that Yakup acts like a typical Turkish child and added: "He is a fan of the Beşiktaş football club. He knows the names of the players and chants the football club's slogans. He speaks Turkish very well and is a very active and warm child. I see that Ali is a bit shy and silent."

Cüce's Saudi boss, Muhammad Muhatim, noted that everything had been cleared up with a DNA test and added: "After Yusuf's wife, Funda, gave birth to her third child four years ago, everyone kept asking the couple why the child did not look like either of the parents. Yusuf grew increasingly suspicious and did a DNA test, but indeed, he did not expect such a result. Once, seeing that Yakup does not take after his parents, I even made a joke to Yusuf saying that Yakup does not look like a Turkish child, he might be of Arab origin. Now I'm also surprised that my joke came true four years later."

Muhammad al-Muayyid, a journalist from Saudi daily Okaz, recalled that Prince Meshaal Bin Mohammad Bin Saud, the Najran governor, had exerted utmost effort for the Turkish and Saudi couples to find their biological sons and noted, "As journalists, we focused on the human dimension of the incident and did our best to dissipate the shroud of mist over the two boys switched at birth."

Stressing that the two families should move to a province where the boys could attend a school teaching both Turkish and English, Yusuf Cüce said: "Both families should be granted dual citizenship so that Ali and Yakup can meet their relatives in Turkey and Saudi Arabia." Supporting Cüce's opinion, Al-Muayyid said: "My son Ali has never seen Turkey or his Turkish relatives. It will be very difficult for Ali if he goes to Turkey without us. If both families are granted dual citizenship, both Ali and Yakup will have the opportunity to visit their relatives often in Turkey and Saudi Arabia."

Funda Cüce, Ali's real mother, burst into tears as she hugged her son. "When I saw my biological child for the first time, I felt pain and happiness. It is difficult to express my feelings. It will be very hard for me to separate from Yakup. My family is going through an emotional crisis. We have attempted to explain the situation to Yakup. He keeps telling me that I am his mother and begs me not to leave him. Both Ali and Yakup are my sons. I cannot give up either of them. Ali takes after his elder brother."

Officials from the Turkish Embassy, on the other hand, stressed that they have been following the child swap issue since the very beginning, adding: "We will never leave Yusuf Cüce and his family alone. We will try our best to psychologically and socially rehabilitate the two families involved; we are very happy to have helped the two families to meet their real sons."

The two boys, Yakup and Ali, born around the same time on Sept. 7, 2003, were mistakenly swapped at King Khaled Hospital in Najran, DNA test results showed. Yakup, who was born to Saudi parents, was handed to a Turkish couple living in Najran and Ali, born to the Turkish couple, was handed to Muhammad Al-Minjem, a Saudi camel breeder in Najran.

Today's Zaman

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Aralık 2007, 13:41