Last surviving heir of Ottoman Empire dies

Prince Dundar Abdulkerim Osmanoglu

The last surviving heir of the Ottoman Empire has died at the age of 90 in Syria.

Prince Dundar Abdulkerim Osmanoglu passed away in a hospital last week in Damascus where he had been receiving treatment, his family said in a statement.

“My uncle Dundar had serious health problems and he was living in Damascus amid a war environment,” said Prince Abdulhamid Kayihan Osmanoglu. “We were trying hard to get him to Turkey, but unfortunately we could not.”

Osmanoglu was the grandson of Prince Mehmet Selim Efendi, son of Abdulhamid II, the legendary Ottoman sultan credited with prolonging the survival of the Ottoman Empire, reports Daily Sabah.

He lived by himself in his birth-city Damascus after his parents were expelled from Turkey when the caliphate was abolished in 1924.

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

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.

Osmanoğlu’s father, Mehmed Abdülkerim Efendi, had settled in Beirut, Lebanon, during the exile of the dynasty’s members, before he moved to Damascus where he died in 1935, survived by his two children and wife.

The Ottoman Empire, empire created by Turkish tribes in Anatolia, grew to be one of the most powerful states in the world during the 15th and 16th centuries.

The Ottoman period spanned more than 600 years and came to an end only in 1922 when it was replaced by the secular Turkish Republic and various successor states in southeastern Europe and the Middle East.

At its height the empire encompassed most of southeastern Europe to the gates of Vienna, including present-day Hungary, the Balkan region, Greece, and parts of Ukraine. It also included portions of the Middle East now occupied by Iraq, Syria, Israel, Egypt and large parts of the Arabian Peninsula; as well as North Africa as far west as Algeria.

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