It was a warm spring night. A group of people gathered at the Bergen Turkish-American Mosque and Cultural Center in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. They were very enthusiastic about their guest who would be watching a documentary about the‘Ottoman Family in Exile’ with them. The 8-year-old-boy in the crowd was probably the most excited one of all. He was expecting to see the Princess with a crown, and he came with his plastic sword to protect her. The honored guest was Mediha Nami Osmanoğlu de Martinez who is the oldest daughter of Osman Nami, who is Abülhamid’s daughter Ayşe Sultan’s son. She watched the documentary with tears along with the participants.
She has never had an interview with a publication so far; she spoke for the first time with TURKOFAMERICA. She explains the reasons for this: “Maybe it is because of my father’s warnings. He used to never talk to the press and he was very tight-lipped. So I was always afraid that I would say something wrong.”
When her father Osman Nami was ordered into exile on 1 March 1924, he was seven years old. He was among those who had gone to Paris on the train that left from Sirkeci, İstanbul. She tells us that although her father used to talk to them about his memories and what he had lived through during the exile, he had never allowed for note-taking. As soon as the forced exile ended in 1974, her father returned to Turkey, bought a house on the Anatolian side of İstanbul, and then moved to Marmaris. He lived in Marmaris until 2010, the year when he passed away. She says, “He was expecting different things when he returned to the country, and, I think, he was disappointed.”
HER GRANDFATHER WAS THE PRESIDENT OF SYRIA
The grandmother of Princess Mediha was Ayşe Sultan, Abdülhamid II’s favorite daughter who was known for her strong character. And Princess Mediha’s grandfather was the old President of State of Syria, Prince Ahmet Nami Bey (between on April 28th, 1920 to February 15th 1928.) Many of the Ottoman Dynasty members who lost their lives during the exile years were buried in Syria with the help of Ahmet Nami Bey. Princess Mediha says, “My grandfather was the person who prevented the burial of members of the dynasty in foreign soil.”
Princess Mediha was born in Paris in 1947. When she was one year old, they moved to Tunisia due to her father’s job. She attended elementary school in Tunisia, and also attended a French high school there. Her father had received radiology training in college and, at that time, he was one of the rare engineers that were able to use radiology devices.
The Tunisian king of that time was a friend of the Turks. Her two younger siblings, Fethiye and Adile, were born in Tunisia. The Princess lost her mother Adile Tanyeri when she was 11 years old. Her father Osman Nuri met his second wife Rotraud Müşfika in Tunisia and had two more daughters with his second wife.
Due to political changes in Tunisia and because of her father’s job, they had to return to France in 1960s.
The longing for Turkey, which Osman Nami Beyzade had spoken of in an interview on TRT in 2006, where he said: “We always had a Turkish flag and a handful of soil brought from Turkey in our room,” is also confirmed by his daughter Mediha Nami, who witnessed it. She says, “My father was very attached to Turkey and its history. He raised us by always telling us to have respect for everyone from all religions and nationalities.”
After her education in France, she first went to England for two years, and then to Germany.
During the years she was in Germany, as her first serious job related to her career, she started to work in the protocol department of the Haitian Embassy in Bonn in 1968. She married in 1969 and her only child daughter, Ayşe Marie-Christine Nami, was born in Bonn on July 1969.
PROMOTED HAITIAN CULTURE IN GERMANY
Some time later, she was offered the position of culture attaché in the embassy. Although she had not wanted it at first, she ended up taking it. She promoted Haitian culture in Germany. She stayed in Germany for 14 years.
After the years spent at the Haitian Embassy, Princess Mediha Nami opened a travel agency with a German and a Spanish friend. She began to promote Latin American countries in Germany. While she was working at the travel agency, she met her husband, Jose Luis Martinez Fernandez, who was working at Mexican Embassy in Bonn. She was tired of the work life in Germany. She said to him: “I’m returning to France. You come along, too.” So they got married in 1989 and settled in France. She tried to operate her travel agency business from Paris; however, it did not quite work out. She returned to Germany with her husband who was appointed as the Consulate General in Berlin. Then, she went to Mexico, where they were to stay.
Her husband was appointed as an executive to Mexican Culture Ministry, then in 2001 he became Mexican Ambassador to Hungary, Bulgaria and Croatia. After his retirement, the couple went back to Mexico City.
She visited Turkey for the first time in 1976. She insisted on taking their trip, of which her daughter Ayşe Nami and her husband were also part, with Turkish Airlines. Because of the infrequency of the flights and the delays during those days, they were able to land in İstanbul only after a very long journey. All the family, the five daughters, mother, and the father got together at Pera Palace after many years. Three of her sisters had gone to school in Turkey but Princess Fethiye and Princess Mediha have always led their lives abroad.
Her only daughter, Ayşe, lives in Germany. Ayşe, who is studying Psychology and Communication, is married to a Turk. Princess Mediha still cannot hide her awe, though it’s been five years, at the care that was given for her father’s funeral by the state authorities. Indeed, the funeral of her father Osman Nami Sultanzade, which was conducted in Fatih Mosque on Thursday, 15 July 2010, was attended by then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and four ministers. Osman Nami Osmanoğlu was buried in Tomb of Mahmud II, which his daughter chose as the gravesite.
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07