Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Safeguarding Ottoman Turkish history

The BBC News website had an interesting report on Sunday about the removal - for the second time - of the tomb of the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman dynasty to protect it from destruction by IS. It is located in Syria, but under a 1921 Treaty is a Turkish enclave guarded by Turkish troops. This was a full scale military operation by the Turkish government and army to remove the burial to a safer place, closer to the Turkish border. The report can be seen at Turkey enters Syria to remove precious Suleyman Shah tomb, and with a background piece at Why is Suleyman Shah's tomb so important?

There is a Wikipedia article about the tomb and its removal at Tomb of Suleyman Shah

Last week there were newspaper reports in The Times of the destruction of Sufi and Shia shrines as well as Classical and Christian sites in Syria by IS and similar hardline Sunni groups who are anxious to erase evidence of other traditions from the areas they now control.

All of which, given the appalling mess that is much of the Middle East today, prompts me to make the point that maybe destroying the Ottoman Empire in the Great War and by the Treaties of Sevres and Lausanne was not such a good idea after all. Having the Sultan might be a good thing - having him as Caliph would restore a final arbiter in Islam that has been lacking since the early 1920s.

No comments: