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Yeah, buddy, and I'm the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
May 8, 2007 11:45 AM   Subscribe

In 1299, Osman I declared independence from the Seljuk Empire, thus beginning the rise of the Ottoman Empire. Over the centuries, The Last Caliphate stretched from Saudi Arabia to Austria, influencing architecture , music, and possibly the most beautiful textiles of the Middle Ages. It was not to last, however. Following a century of uprisings and war, the "Sick Man of Europe" finally succumbed to Turkish Nationalism and was constitutionally abolished by the emerging Turkish state on March 3, 1924. In the intervening 83 years, so much has changed. If the Empire was reinstated today, where would you find the last remaining heir to the Sultan's throne?
posted by quite unimportant (12 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
He has lived there since 1945, and his rent is $350 a month.

The heir to the Ottoman empire, living in a rent-controlled apartment in NYC... so much has changed, but everything is the same.
posted by three blind mice at 12:14 PM on May 8, 2007


Great story and some good links, but he look nothing like his grandsire. Must be the hat :D.
This bit from the NYT piece was something else:
Because he claimed to be a citizen of the Ottoman Empire, and the Ottoman Empire did not exist, he refused the passport of any nation. For years, he traveled with a homemade passport, and then a permit issued by the United States government. Incredibly, that worked for decades, and might have continued to work had Sept. 11 not led to tighter security. In 2004, he received a Turkish passport for the first time.
posted by Abiezer at 12:18 PM on May 8, 2007


The NYT article is fantastic. Thx for posting it.
posted by micayetoca at 12:31 PM on May 8, 2007


If they ever re-ensultanate this guy, Russia should think about bringing back the Romanovs. Apparently there are a number of claimants out there. Anastasia, however, screamed in vain--or did she? Well, at any rate, she and her martyred family have been made saints by the Russian Orthodox Church.

We've also got some Bourbons on the loose. I did not know this, but we're all the way up to Louis XX.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 12:40 PM on May 8, 2007


two-bedroom apartment over a restaurant on Lexington Avenue in the 70's - $350 a month

wow
posted by caddis at 12:53 PM on May 8, 2007


That was a great story. Love it, love it, love it.
posted by Kattullus at 1:21 PM on May 8, 2007


Great story. One of the most fascinating things about the Ottoman empire was how the role of Sultan evolved from undisputed leader to harem-obsessed pleasure-stuffed symbol with most power in the hands of the Grand Vizier, the Sultan's mother, or various eunuchs (the only ones who were privvy to the Sultans who spent most of their time in the harem. Ibrahim the Mad is an interesting example of this bizarre system that got stranger and stranger with each generation.
posted by cell divide at 1:50 PM on May 8, 2007


I love this stuff.

One quibble, he is apparently not the last remaining heir to the throne, but the last one born in the Ottoman empire while the family still ruled. There are other family members who technically have a claim, but they were "born abroad."

Also fascinating: his wife Zeynep is the niece of the last king of Afghanistan; they married in 1991. So even though he had lived for decades in a rent controlled apartment, he managed to marry a royal peer.
posted by beagle at 2:11 PM on May 8, 2007


While reading it, I kept thinking about the forgotten gods in Gaiman's American Gods, just more-or-less modestly hanging around in everyday life, carrying within themselves the diminished splendor of a lost time.

I'm usually not on the side of royals, but the part where he was in a tour group touring his old palace and the guard wouldn't let him step on the floor he fucking played on as a child really got to me.
posted by quite unimportant at 3:06 PM on May 8, 2007


That's a great story. Wow. That reporter must have been over the moon about getting a lead like that.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:09 PM on May 8, 2007


Looks like she's sitting on an ottoman in the picture on the last link.
posted by Brian B. at 4:55 PM on May 8, 2007


beagle,
One quibble, he is apparently not the last remaining heir to the throne, but the last one born in the Ottoman empire while the family still ruled. There are other family members who technically have a claim, but they were "born abroad."

I noticed that too, but what his wife says:

"After him, Zeynep said, 'the tradition of the family will disappear because the rest of the members were born abroad.'"

seems to imply that perhaps Imperial Ottoman law requires potential heirs to be born within the empire? So perhaps even if you are biologically the next in line, legally you can't inherit if you were born abroad? Then again, I'll have to admit that I don't know much about Ottoman law, I'm just going by what she says.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:54 AM on May 9, 2007


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