Letter: Footnote to a dynasty

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The Independent Online
Sir: I refer to your dispatch from Istanbul on 22 July, 'Oldest Ottoman to come home at last'. As a member of the Imperial Ottoman Family and a former journalist (now retired) who spent 36 years with the BBC Monitoring Service, I have to point out that the use of the term 'tribe' with reference to a dynasty that ruled a vast empire for nearly 700 years is rather flippant and hardly edifying. Are we not discussing the dynasty that created and ruled over the Ottoman Empire, under which were carefully preserved the 16th-century churches in former Yugoslavia, now ruthlessly razed to the ground by Christian Serbs and Croats?

Are we not dealing with that dynasty ('tribe' in your language) to which the Jewish community in Turkey, now celebrating the 500th anniversary of the settlement within the Ottoman Empire of Sephardi Jews expelled from Christian Spain in 1492 and rescued by the Ottoman fleet, owes so much for the survival and salvation of its ancestors?

It would have been more apt, and correct, to refer to 'members of the 700-year-old Ottoman dynasty descended from the tribe of Osman' and report that 'most members of the Imperial Ottoman Family now live in Turkey', instead of, as you put it, 'most of the tribe now live in Turkey'.

Yours faithfully,

EKREM MAHMUT SAMY

London, SW1

24 July

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