Turkey: Marriage of Sultan's grandson at 72

Media attention show interest in imperial past

24 April, 21:06

(ANSAmed) - ANKARA, APRIL 24 - In a sign of public interest in an Ottoman past that colours Ankara's current foreign policy decisions, Turkey's media are reporting the re-marriage of a seventy-two-year-old grandson of Sultan Murat V. Osman Selahaddin Osmanoglu, one of the 24 still living male descendants of the Ottoman sultans - according to the online edition of Hurriyet - has embarked upon his second marriage in Istanbul today.

The bride is retired philosophy professor Hanife Candan Gunen. The ''simple ceremony'' took place in Ciragan Palace, today a five star hotel on the European bank of the Bosphorus, but formerly the palace where in 1903 his father Ali Vasib Efendi was born, son of the Sultan who reigned for three months in 1876 before being deposed on charges of insanity - or was it because overly inclined to introduce reforms? In a speech given during the ceremony, information on the bridegroom's dynasty was supplied by Ilber Ortayli, Director of the Topkapi Museum, whose walls are enclosed by the former palace of the Ottoman sultans.

The Ottoman lineage is followed with interest by Turkey's media. This month has seen the death of Fatma Neslisah Osmanoglu, the last member of the former imperial family to have been born into a reigning dynasty. Along with a series of exhibitions, including one on the Balkans during the reign of the pashas and one on archaeologist-artist Osman Hamdi Bey, interest for the Ottoman past has been testified even more on the small and large screens. Turkey's film of the year is the epic ''Fetih 1453'' on the ''conquest'' of Constantinople in that year.

It is the first film to have sold more than five million tickets in the country. A strong runner on TV is the series 'Magnificent Century' (obviously an Ottoman one), retains its popularity despite having all its scenes of drunkenness and sexual excess cut. The pride of this strongly nationalistic people focuses on the conquests which saw its empire expand across ''three continents'' as has recently been pointed out by Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with a reference to dominions extending from Algiers to Baghdad and from Budapest to the Horn of Africa.

This historic map reflects the current political and diplomatic interests of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who rejects the label of ''neo-Ottoman'' for his strategy. But the minister has also argued that the creation of a kind of ''Pax Ottomana'' could help calm some of the turbulence in the region.



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