The Osmanoğlu family refers to the current members of the historical House of Osman, which was the namesake and sole ruling house of the Ottoman Empire from 1299 until the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. There were 36 Ottoman Sultans who ruled over the Empire, and each one was a direct descendant through the male line of the first Ottoman Sultan, Sultan Osman I. After the deposition of the last Sultan, Mehmet VI, in 1922, and the subsequent abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924, members of the Imperial family were forced into exile. Their descendants now live in many different countries throughout Europe, as well as in the United States, the Middle East, and since they have now been permitted to return to their homeland, many now also live in Turkey. When in exile, the family adopted the surname of Osmanoğlu , meaning "son of Osman", after the founder of the House of Osman and direct ancestor of all current family members.
Heads of the House of Osman since 1923
The Ottoman dynasty was exiled from Turkey in 1924. The female members of the dynasty were allowed to return after 1951, and the male members after 1973. Below is a list of people who would have been heirs to the Ottoman throne following the abolition of the sultanate on 1 November 1922. These people have not necessarily made any claim to the throne; for example Ertuğrul Osman said "Democracy works well in Turkey.".
Mehmed VI, last Ottoman Sultan then 36th Head of the House of Osman in exile.
Abdülmecid II, last Ottoman Caliph then 37th Head of the House of Osman following Mehmed VI's death.
Ahmed IV Nihad, 38th Head of the House of Osman, grandson of Sultan Murad V.
Osman IV Fuad, 39th Head of the House of Osman, brother of Ahmed IV Nihad, and grandson of Sultan Murad V.
Ertuğrul Osman V, 43rd Head of the House of Osman, grandson of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. He is known as "the Last Ottoman" in Turkey.
Bayezid III, 44th Head of the House of Osman, great-grandson of Sultan Abdülmecid I.
Dündar Ali Osman, 45th Head of the House of Osman, great-grandson of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.
Resurgence of interest in the Ottoman family
Since the turn of this century there has been a growing interest in the living members of the Ottoman family, both within Turkey and abroad. In 2006, family members met at Dolmabahçe Palace for the presentation of the documentary Osmanoğlu'nun Sürgünü produced by TRT. This documentary followed the stories of the members of the Ottoman family who went into exile in 1924, following the establishment of the Turkish Republic and the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate. It then follows the stories of their descendants, who now live in Turkey, Europe, North America, and throughout the Middle East. Extensive coverage of this event, and the success of the documentary series has dramatically raised the profile of the Imperial Family. According to the New York Times, historians said that the show of reverence at the funeral of Imperial Prince Ertuğrul Osman in September 2009 was a "seminal moment in the rehabilitation of the Ottoman Empire". An interview with Imperial Prince Mahmud by the Anatolian News Agency was published in several publications in Turkey and the UK.
Without exception, all high-ranking members of the Imperial Ottoman family were exiled in 1924. Most had never left their homeland before, and all were forced to make a new life abroad. The family departed from Sirkeci railway station, and would disperse across Europe, the United States and the Middle East. In exile, the family lived in poverty. As the former Ottoman Sultan Mehmed VI Vahideddin had settled in San Remo, many members of the family congregated in the South of France. After living in Switzerland for a short time, the last Caliph of Islam, Imperial Prince Abdulmecid II, also moved to the French Riviera, settling in Nice. The Turkish Republic had issued the exiled Ottoman family members with travel documents but they were only valid for one year. Therefore, by 1925 members of the family were no longer able to travel. Prince Ali Vâsib Efendi appealed to the French Government and succeeded in obtaining courtesy passports for them. The French Government also issued passports to the children of the members of the family who were born in exile. In the years since the exile was lifted, many members of the Ottoman family have obtained Turkish citizenship and hold Turkish passports.
Imperial Princes (''Şehzades'') of the House of Osman
The formal way of addressing the male descendants of the Ottoman Sultans is Devletlû Najabatlu Şehzade SultanHazretleri Efendi, i.e. Sultan Imperial Prince. According to genealogies of the House of Osman, had the Sultanate not been abolished, there would be twenty-five Imperial Princes in the line of succession after Bayezid Osman, the late head of the family. The succession law used is agnatic seniority, with the succession passing to eldest male dynast.
Imperial Princesses (Sultanas) of the House of Osman
The formal way of addressing the female descendants of the Ottoman Sultans is Devletlû İsmetluSultân Aliyyetü'ş-Şân Hazretleri, i.e. Sultana. According to genealogies of the House of Osman, had the Sultanate not been abolished, there would be thirteen Sultanas: