The trial of the Duchess of York for taking part in the secret filming of two orphanages in Turkey has been adjourned, so that an out of court settlement can be agreed. The film showed images of the children tied to their beds or left in their cribs. 

Sarah Ferguson filmed five children in an orphanage in an undercover trip to Turkey in 2008, during which she secretely visited two state run orphanages along with two British TV journalists. She faces charges of going "against the law in acquiring footage and violating privacy" of the five children. If convicted, she could receive a maximum sentence of 22 1/2 years in prison. The trial began on Friday and Ferguson was being tried "in absentia". 

The government has accused the duchess of "smearing Turkey's image", and a lawyer representing the five children and Turkey's Family and Social Policies Ministry, said her clients had been "harmed" in the making of the film. It beggars belief that the lawyer could be talking about the mentally retarded, and handicapped children who were tied to their bedposts or left in their cribs. 

The real issue surrounding this case is the fact that Turkey's government have been trying to become a member of the European Union, and the exposure of this issue would show the human rights violations and the stifling of the freedom of expression that occurs in Turkey, ruining their reputation and hindering their accession. Speech is not free in Turkey and this is highlighted by the lack of a public interest defence to justify the intrusion. 

The treatment that these poor, defenceless children were being subjected to, appears to have been overlooked. The future of these children, and the future of thousands of other children in orphanages, has not been reported. Have orphanages been improved? If not, then Sarah Ferguson's work will have been in vain. 

On RT this morning there was a package about Turkey wanting to host the 2020 Olympic games. RT interviewed a food vendor who said that Turkey needs to get it's house in order first as the majority people in Istanbul are poor. They come to him asking for advice, for food, asking how they are going to feed their children, how they are going to survive. And yet there was a minister in the package who said that Turkey is in a prime position to host the 2020 games as their economy has grown by 8%, whilst the rest of Europe is in recession. 

It seems wealth is unevenly distributed and there is poverty in the midst of plenty throughout Turkey. I agree with the food vendor, Turkey needs to get it's house in order before it could even be considered for accession to the EU. 

The EU has already made many mistakes. Greece was allowed to enter despite their collossal debt and Bulgaria was allowed to enter despite the poor condition of it's orphanages. It is then down to the EU to bail out Greece and to pour millions of pounds into de-institutionalisation plans to change Bulgaria's social care system (which are not working, but that's a story for another day.)

The EU does not need any more problems. Keep Turkey out. 

The footage was shown in the ITV documentary "Duchess and Daughters: Their secret mission"



Sarah Ferguson orphanage trial