Osmanoğlu, the eldest Ottoman dynasty member, passes away

Osmanoğlu, the eldest Ottoman dynasty member, passes away

Ertuğrul Osman Osmanoğlu, died at 97 on Wednesday evening in İstanbul.

September 24, 2009, Thursday/ 12:19:00
The eldest member of the Ottoman dynasty, Ertuğrul Osman Osmanoğlu, died at 97 on Wednesday evening in İstanbul.

Osmanoğlu had been hospitalized for one week at American Hospital with renal and respiratory failure. Noting that her husband was at intense care unit in the last days of his life, Osmanoğlu's wife Zeynep Tarzi said, “He died at around 8:30 p.m. I did not leave him alone in his last hours alive. We have not yet reached to a decision concerning his funeral.” Speaking to Zaman daily in 2007, Osmanoğlu had said, “I do not have much time left. I want to be in İstanbul all the time.”

Oldest Ottoman born at palace

Having been born in 1912 at Yıldız Palace in İstanbul -- when the Ottoman Empire was still alive and the Ottoman dynasty was still ruling vast the empire -- Osmanoğlu was the eldest member of the Ottoman dynasty since 1994. His father is Şehzade Mehmet Burhaneddin Efendi and he is the grandson of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Osmanoğlu was 10 when he left İstanbul and went to Vienna for education. When the system of caliphate was abolished in 1924 by newly founded Turkish Republic, the members of the Ottoman dynasty was expelled from the country and he could not turn back to Turkey for the next 70 years. Osmanoğlu got married to Zeynep Tarzi, who is the daughter of Prince Abdulfettah Tarzi, niece of former king of Afghanistan Amanullah Khan and of Doctor Pakize Tarzi, a Turkish gynecologist.

Returning to Turkey, rejecting amnesty

Osmanoğlu came to Turkey in 1992 for the first time following years in exile. Recalling that the Osmanoğlu family was granted amnesty in 1974, Osmanoğlu had said in the interview in 2007, “I was in Venezuela when we were granted amnesty. We had a mine there. A Turkish ambassador sent me the news: ‘Apply us if you want to be citizen. We can give you passport or visa if you want. If you have American passport, let us give you visa, you can go to Turkey then.' I thanked to his offer and said, ‘We do not need amnesty since we have not done anything wrong.'”

Then, in 2004, he got his Turkish citizenship. Replying a question in an interview as to how he was feeling to be a Turkish citizen, he had said, “I appreciate that I am accepted to be a Turkish citizen. It feels different. In fact, it does not matter if I have Turkish passport or not. Only my being a Turkish citizen became official.”

Even though he spent most of his life in abroad and lived in New York for long years, Osmanoğlu could speak Turkish well, which, he had said, became possible since he talked in Turkish with his father and brother until their deaths. In addition to Turkish, he could also speak English, German and French in an advanced level and could understand Ottoman language as well as Italian and Spanish.

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