Last Ottoman Sultan’s Grandson Passes Away

Associated Press

Osman Osmanoglu
File photo from the 1980s of Osman Ertugrul Osmanoglu, with his wife and survivor, Zeynep Tarzi, an exiled member of the Afghan royal family.

Friday, September 25, 2009–Osman Ertugrul Osmanoglu, 97, the eldest member of the former Ottoman dynasty, died of kidney failure Sept. 23 at a hospital in Istanbul.

He was the last surviving grandson of an Ottoman sultan and was regarded as the head of the royal family’s living members.

Mr. Osmanoglu would have become its sultan (Sultan Osman V) but for the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923 after the collapse of the Ottoman dynasty and the exile of its members to Europe.

Mr. Osmanoglu moved to New York City in 1933 and as a young man ran a mining company. He returned to Turkey in 1992 and was granted Turkish citizenship in 2004.

He was a descendant of Osman I, the Anatolian ruler who established the Ottoman Empire. The empire, which grew to control parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, lasted about 600 years.

Osmanoglu was born in 1912. His grandfather, Abdul Hamid II, ruled from 1876 to 1909. In 1924, the royal family was expelled by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who led the revolution that deposed the family and founded the Turkish Republic.

The New York Times reported that Mr. Osmanoglu’s first wife, Gulda Twerskoy, died in 1985 and that since 1991 he had been married to Zeynep Tarzi, an exiled member of the Afghan royal family. The paper said she is his only immediate survivor.

In 1924, while studying in Vienna, Austria, he received news that all members of the Sultan’s family were to be exiled. He did not return to his native Turkey until the 1990s, when the Government of Turkey agreed to grant him Turkish citizenship. He has lived in the United States since 1933, and currently resides in New York City. He became the 43rd Head of the Imperial House of Osman in 1994.

Born at Yıldız Palace, Istanbul, he is the younger son of H.I.H. Captain Prince Muhammed Burhanettin Efendi, by his second wife, Aliye Melik Nazlıyar Hanım Efendi, daughter of Huseyin Bey, educated at Theresianum Academy, Vienna, and École des Sciences Politiques, Paris. He is also the grandson of Sultan Abdul-Hamid Khan II Ghazi, 34th Sovereign of the Imperial House of Osman. His (second) wife, Mrs. Zeynep Tarzi, is the daughter of Abdulfettah Tarzi, nephew of the former King of Afghanistan, Amanullah Khan, and of Dr. Pakize Tarzi, a pioneering Turkish gynaecologist from a deep-rooted Ottoman family. He spoke Turkish, English, German and French perfectly and understood Italian and Spanish.

Ertugrul Osman V recently declared his wish to return to his homeland from exile, stating that he is living his last days, then was allowed to return by the Turkish republic.

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