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Turkey accuses Sarah Ferguson of running fear -

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Turkey accuses Sarah Ferguson of running fear campaign

The World Today - Friday, 7 November , 2008 12:34:00

Reporter: Stephanie Kennedy

ELEANOR HALL: The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, has sparked a diplomatic row between Britain and
Turkey with a documentary she filmed on state run orphanages in Turkey.

The Turkish government is threatening the Duchess with legal action over the film which has just
aired in Britain.

The film is an expose of the conditions that disabled children are forced to endure in Turkish
orphanages.

But the Turkish Government has accused the Duchess of using the film to run a smear campaign
against Turkey, just it is trying to join the European Union.

In London, Stephanie Kennedy reports.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Wearing a black wig and scarf, the undercover Duchess secretly filmed in some of
Turkey's orphanages for children with mental disabilities to see firsthand the conditions.

(Extract from documentary)

SARAH FERGUSON: But it is also the smell. It is that smell. It gets into your bones.

REPORTER: Terribly overwhelming.

SARAH FERGUSON: It was, wasn't it?

REPORTER: It really was overwhelming.

SARAH FERGUSON: I think it was really important that we went into that place upstairs. It was just
so degrading - the whole thing for these poor people.

(End of extract)

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: The documentary shows one boy who is kept in a box because he's hyperactive.

SARAH FERGUSON: And I saw children with suffering from Down Syndrome and other kinds of
disabilities. They are fed on their backs and given no love and no support.

There was one child when I was walking through the orphanage which was crawling on his back to get
a gleam of sunlight from an open window. When I passed him he said good morning to me. He speaks
English. There was nothing wrong with this boy. He just had a disability in his legs.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: 18-year-old Princess Eugenie accompanied her mother to some of the orphanages
and she was clearly moved by what she saw. Tears well up in her eyes and she says she feels angry.

PRINCESS EUGENIE: Well, I was completely overwhelmed. I mean I walked outside and there was a lady
who was looking at me with these huge eyes. Just smiling from ear to ear and I was just, she was
just so kind and I came in here looking like just, you know to be nice, see what is happening and
she was the one who gave me my day.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Even before the documentary went to air Turkey accused the Duchess of smearing
Turkey's image. Authorities say she is trying to sabotage their European Union membership bid.

Turkey's Minister for Women and Family Affairs is Nimet Cubukcu. She says Turkey has nothing to
hide and she's accused the Duchess of York of deception.

NIMET CUBUKDU (translated): Recently representations from the Council of Europe visited these
orphanages without warning. Sarah Ferguson wanted to go there too but her request was declined
politely because of on-going repair works at the orphanages.

Still she went there - circumventing Turkish law - violating our legal system and our constitution
by doing so. She abused the trust of the volunteers and charity workers there.

She deceived these people by saying she would pay substantial donations.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: While the duchess is no longer a member of the Royal Family her daughters are,
and this diplomatic spat is an embarrassment for their grandmother, the Queen. But Sarah Ferguson
denies any political motives.

SARAH FERGUSON: This is my personal point of view. I am not a member of the Royal Family. I am not
a politician. I went in there to highlight the plight of children and I have.

Now it seems that I have embarrassed the Turkish Government. Well, let's hope that I have
embarrassed them enough in order for them to make changes in the welfare of their children.

I think it is important for the children that are locked in those cages. I really do. I think it is
vital. They have got no-one standing up for them and they can't stand up for themselves. Will
somebody please do something? OK, I will.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Turkey's Foreign Minister plans to raise the issue during talks with his British
counterpart in London later today. In London this is Stephanie Kennedy reporting for The World
Today.