ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)—Members of the Ottoman dynasty are getting ready to hold the Ottoman Symposium on the occasion of the establishment of the Turkish Republic, with Orhan Osmanoglu, a grandson of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II, saying they will use the opportunity to show the unity of the republic and the Ottoman Empire.
Osmanoglu said representatives from 15 countries that were once under Ottoman rule will participate in the symposium, scheduled to last for a week.
He added that Ottoman culture and traditions would also be presented at the event, which will host renowned historians such as Kenize Mourad. Osmanoglu also noted that the symposium will bring attendees together with some members of other dynasties, including Prince Charles.
The symposium will make clear that allegations of Ottoman dynasty members being against the republic and wanting to bring back the sultanate are false, Osmanoglu said. “You would never hear anything negative from our family about Mustafa Kemal [Ataturk] and the republic,” he said.
Talking about attendance at funerals of the dynasty’s members in Turkey, he said the people are sensitive to the issue but that the family expects more. “I wish people from the Republican People’s Party [CHP] and the Nationalist Movement Party [MHP] would participate as well,” he said, referring to the main opposition parties.
The eldest member of the Ottoman dynasty, Ertugrul Osman Osmanoglu, died at 97 in September of last year in Istanbul. Born in 1912 at Yıldız Palace in Istanbul, when the Ottoman Empire was still striving and the Ottoman dynasty ruled the vast empire, Ertugrul Osman Osmanoglu was the oldest member of the Ottoman dynasty since 1994. The Osmanoglu family was granted amnesty in 1974, and the late President Turgut Ozal granted them citizenship in 1985.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul showed interest in Ertugrul Osman Osmanoglu. Erdogan first visited him and his family in the US in 2004, when Ertugrul Osman Osmanoglu received a Turkish passport, and also during his later trips to the country.
Orhan Osmanoglu was born in Damascus in 1963 as Harun Osmanoglu’s son and Abdulhamid II’s grandson. He said the dynasty established its first foundation in Paris in 2002 but added that they also want to establish one in Istanbul. “You cannot throw away 650 years of history,” he noted. Orhan Osmanoglu rejects the label “The Latest Ottomans” given to them by some historians, saying that the youngest member of the dynasty is 2 years old and that their lineage remains strong.