Last heir to Ottoman throne evacuated from Syria

Dündar Abdülkerim Osmanoğlu, the last heir to the throne of the now-defunct Ottoman Empire, was evacuated from war-torn Syria into Turkey upon the order of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Osmanoğlu, 87, was living alone in Damascus where he was born after his parents were expelled from Turkey upon the abolition of the caliphate in 1924. His wife Yüsra died last month.

The descendants of the Ottoman dynasty living in Turkey long sought to bring the fragile dynasty member from Syria, which cut off ties with Turkey amid the ongoing war.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered the Foreign Ministry to arrange efforts to bring Osmanoğlu to Turkey and he traveled to Istanbul from Beirut, Lebanon where he was evacuated first.

Çağatay Erciyes, Turkey’s ambassador in Lebanon, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Foreign Ministry staff accompanied Osmanoğlu on his journey to Istanbul and said the heir was in good health.

Osmanoğlu is the grandson of Prince Mehmet Selim Efendi, son of Abdülhamid II, the legendary Ottoman sultan credited with prolonging the survival of the Ottoman Empire, which was past the glory days in the last years of 19th century.

Abdülhamid Kayıhan Osmanoğlu, a fourth-generation grandson of Sultan Abdülhamid II, told reporters that the prince was unable to leave his house as the war raged across Syria. He said they were in contact with authorities to bring them to Turkey where most of his family members live.

The Ottoman dynasty’s descendants were forced to scatter around the world after the collapse of the empire and they were sent into exile starting from 1924.

In 1952, female members of the dynasty were granted amnesty and the men were allowed to return to Turkey in 1974. Yet, few returned to Turkey as most of them had already built new lives after living abroad for decades.


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