Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has rejected an appeal by his Turkish counterpart for ministerial-level talks over the case of a boy taken from his Turkish parents in the Netherlands and placed in the foster care of a lesbian couple who live in The Hague.

Last week, it was reported that the couple had gone into hiding with their foster son after the boy’s biological parents went on television in Turkey and said that they consider the pair morally unfit to take care of their child.

Last Friday, the Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher praised the foster parents for taking on a “child in danger” and defended Dutch social service policies as discriminating only on the basis of parental ability.

On Thursday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said placing a child from a Muslim background with lesbians could breach his nation’s “moral and religious values.”

The spat over the nine-year-old boy, identified only as Yunus, has overshadowed Thursday’s day-long visit by Mr Erdogan to the Netherlands.

According to the Associated Press, while Mr Erdogan called for ministerial talks, the Dutch PM told reporters: “The placing of Dutch foster children is the responsibility of the Netherlands alone. Nobody else.”

Mr Erdogan is visiting the Netherlands to boost trade and mark four centuries of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Meanwhile, in Turkey, a campaign has been launched by the Turkish Government to retrieve Turkish children fostered by Christian families in Europe – starting with children fostered by gay and lesbian couples.