A ceremony was held by Turkey's Embassy in Paris on Monday, marking the restoration of the tombs of Ottoman dynasty members carried out by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA).
During the event, which was hosted by the Turkey's Paris embassy, Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran said Ankara attaches great importance to passing national heritage down to future generations, adding that it is a privilege to carry on the Ottoman legacy. The deputy foreign minister also thanked TİKA for its efforts, extending the greetings of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. The restoration of these tombs was completed in March. Making an opening speech, Turkey's Ambassador to Paris İsmail Hakkı Musa emphasized the continuity of state tradition in the Turkish empires, from the Seljuks to Ottomans, and proceeded by the Turkish Republic. On March 3, 1924, administration of the newly-formed Turkish Republic ordered the exile of the members of the Ottoman royal family. Inheritors of the 620 years-old royal family started a new life in different corners of the world after the decision, including Paris. Musa said that they came together to commemorate the sons of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II, Ahmed Nureddin and Abdürrahim Hayri, who lived and died in the French capital, saying that both shahzades (princes) were highly distinguished persons. Bobigny Cemetery was established in 1937 to bury deceased Muslims. Located next to the Paris Grand Mosque, the cemetery has nearly 6,000 graves including members of the Ottoman dynasty.
As a result of complaints about the lack of maintenance of Muslim tombs in March 2016, TİKA launched a renovation program with the initiation of Turkey's Paris Embassy and under the instruction of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Investigations of the embassy revealed that many Ottoman dynasty members were buried in the cemetery, including Mehmed Ali Rauf (son-in-law of Abdulhamid II), Osman Fuat (grandson of Murat V), Selma Sultan (daughter of Murat V), Rabia (wife of Abdulhamit II), Sehsuvar Hanım (wife of last caliph Abdulmecit) and Selma Sultan's daughter.
Established in 1992, TİKA is the leading institution responsible for the implementation of developmental projects and programs in more than 100 countries covering health and humanitarian programs, education and agriculture. In 2018, the agency carried out numerous important projects in the fields of education, health, agriculture and livestock from Africa to Latin America, the Balkans to Asia. It also gave a helping hand to countries in their production, infrastructure and restoration activities. From the distribution of a total of 3,000 school bags with school supplies inside for the war-torn children of Yemen to providing wheelchairs for 200 disabled people in the East African country Comoros, the agency has lent a helping hand to thousands in various corners of the world.