SULTAN'S FAMILY ARRIVES FOR FUNERAL
Neslişah Sultan's son Abbas Hilmi arrived from Egypt to attend the funeral. Her daughter İkbal Saviç, grandson Davut Hilmi as well as cousins Harun Abdülkerim Osmanoğlu, Osman Selahattin Osmanoğlu, all attended the funeral. As did her niece Fazile Bernar who lives in France with her husband Jan Bernar and nieces and nephews Kenize Murad, Arzu Enver Erovan, Osman Mayatepek, Orhan Osmanoğlu, Kayahan Osmanoğlu, Orhan Osmanoğlu, Abdülhamid Kayıhan Osmanoğlu, Cengiz Baransel, Hanzade Özbaş as well as her relative Beyzade Bülent Osman were also present for the funeral. Neslişah Sultan's son Abbas Hilmi supposedly saw his mother for the last time last weekend in Istanbul. Abbas Hilmi never let go of the Koran in his hand throughout the ceremony. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, former Minister of the Interior Abdülkadir Aksu, Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, AK Party District Chairman Aziz Babuşçu, businessman Ali Koç, historian İlber Ortaylı and former ministers Güneş Taner were also in attendance at the funeral. Arınç stated, "I have come with my comrades in order to offer condolence son behalf of the Prime Minister." Following the funeral ceremony, Neslişah Sultan was laid to rest next to her mother Rukiye Sabiha Osmanoğlu, her sisters Necla Hubettulah and Zehra Hanzade at the Aşiyan Cemetery.
Speaking at an AK Party group meeting, Prime Minister Erdoğan stated, "Neslişah Osmanoğlu was symbol of nobility who shared the blood of Ertuğrul Gazi, Fatih Sultan Mehmet and Sultan Süleyman."Neslişah Osmanoğlu, the granddaughter of both the last caliph Abdülmecid and the final Ottoman Sultan Vahdettin and the oldest member of the Ottoman dynasty, passed away the day before yesterday at the age of 91.
Neslişah Sultan's nephew and fourth generation grandson of Abdülhamid, Abdülhamid Kayıhan Osmanoğlu explained that his aunt lost her life from a heart attack. "She passed away in her home in Ortaköy. Her daughter was with her at the time. Her son, who was abroad, has now arrived. We are expecting her other family members to come as well." Referred to as "Sultanefendi", Neslişah Sultan was the final individual listed in the Ottoman dynasty's registry. Born on February 4th, 1921 in Sabiha Sultan's residence in Nişantaşı, Istanbul, Neslişah Sultan's father Şehzade Ömer Faruk Efendi was the son of caliph Abdülmecid. Her mother, Sabiha Sultan was the daughter of the last Ottoman Sultan Vahdettin. She was the last person added to the Ottoman registry and 121 cannons were set off for her birth. The sultan printed currency in her name.
Neslişah Sultan lived in Dolmabahçe Palace until she was three, then in 1924 her family was exiled to France. Just prior to boarding the train that was going to take the family into exile; she hid behind a curtain at the station and cried, saying, "I want to go home."
Neslişah spent her childhood in France and later on in her youth, she went to Egypt with her family. In 1940 she married Prince Muhammed Abdülmunim, the son of the last khedive Abbas Hilmi Paşa. She brought two children into the world, Prince Abbas Hilmi and Princess İkbal.
Following the Egyptian coup in 1952, her husband was made regent and she became 'Egypt's First Lady'. After the establishment of the republic, she and her husband were accused of taking part in an international conspiracy against the Egyptian government. After trials that went on for months, she was acquitted and granted permission to leave Egypt. This being her second exile, Neslişah Sultan and her husband settled in France. Meanwhile in 1952, an amnesty was granted in Turkey for princesses, referred to as sultans, from the Ottoman dynasty. In 1963, Neslişah Sultan reclaimed her Turkish citizenship and took on the "Osmanoğlu" surname. From then on, she resided in Istanbul.
AN ATHLETE, FLUENT IN FOUR LANGUAGES
Neslişah Osmanoğlu was fluent in French, English, German and Arabic and was also an avid skier, swimmer and equestrian. She was also interested in history, literature, geography, botany and the culture of cuisine. Prof. Dr. İlber Ortaylı has referred to her as, "being an official representative of the Ottoman dynasty, whose birth was greeted with cannons. She was extremely cultured; she knew a few languages extremely well and was highly respected by a number of significant conductors in the music world."
In the 2006 documentary entitled The Last Ottomans, Neslişah Sultan stated the following: "We grew up longing for our homeland when we lived in exile. I used to ask my mother's friends who would come and go from Istanbul if they would bring me a handful of soil from Istanbul, however unfortunately no one ever did so. Now, when I enter the streets, I see that whatever is beautiful was made by my grandfathers. I feel pride and understand even better how much I belong here."
Gül: I felt deep sorrow…
President Gül delivered the following message upon hearing of Neslişah Sultan's death: "I felt deep sorrow to hear of the death of Neslişah Osmanoğlu, the oldest member of the Ottoman Dynasty which founded the Ottoman State, which was transformed into a universal empire, an era which has made its mark on both Turkish and world history.
Prime Minister Erdoğan: I heard the news with great grief…
In a message released by Prime Minister Erdoğan he states, "I heard of Neslişah Osmanoğlu's death with great grief. May the late Neslişah Osmanoğlu rest in the Mercy of God and I offer my condolences and pray for peace to those family members she has left behind."
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