Friday, 25 September 2009

At the road’s end: Ertuğrul Osman (1912-2009), heir to the Ottoman Empire

Ertuğrul Osman, the 97-year-old head of the former imperial house of Osman, which ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1299 to 1922, died in a hospital in Istanbul on Wednesday. A grandson of Sultan Abdülhamid II, the former prince was born on 18 August 1912. He succeeded as head of the Ottoman dynasty when he became its eldest male member in 1994 and was at the time of his death the last member of the imperial dynasty to be born under the monarchy.
Having lived in a flat above a New York restaurant for decades, he was allowed to return to Turkey in August 1992 and was granted Turkish citizenship in 2004. During his first visit to Turkey he opted to take part in a guided tour of the Dolmabahce Palace, not wanting to make a fuss. He had no illusions about an Ottoman restoration. “I’m a very practical person. Democracy works well in Turkey”, he told The New York Times three years ago.
He is survived by his second wife Zeynep, a niece of King Amanullah of Afghanistan.

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