A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Turkey Rescues its Soldiers, Body of Ottoman Ancestor from Turkish Enclave inside Syria

Twice on this blog, in 2012 and again last year, I've noted the fact that the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of Osman from whom the Ottoman Empire takes its name, is an enclave considered sovereign Turkish territory deep inside Syria, and guarded by Turkish troops.

No longer. Over the past weekend Turkey sent a substantial armored military force through Syrian territory to the site, rescuing 38 Turkish soldiers threatened by ISIS. They also destroyed the site and retrieved the remains of Suleyman Shah.

A new site is planned just 200 meters inside Syria, retaining its claim to territory inside Syria but moving it closer to Turkey. (In fact, the tomb had been relocated before, when Lake Asad was built.

The Asad government has denounced the operation, and some Turkish opposition parties have denounced it as surrendering national territory.

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