A special ceremony was held to honor the remains of Suleyman Shah and his two guards in southeastern Turkey’s Sanliurfa province Monday as construction of his new tomb gathered pace at Syria’s Ashme town.
Shah was the grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey had relocated his remains along with his two guards in a special military operation Saturday.
The ceremony was held at a border post in Sanliurfa’s Birecik district that began with a moment of silence and the Turkish national anthem. Turkish soldiers paid their respects with a gun salute during the ceremony.
The remains were being temporarily hosted at a building in the post and a Turkish flag was also hoisted outside its entrance.
The two-pronged operation began late Saturday and ended on Sunday. It brought the remains of Shah and sacred relics from the original exclave in Karakozak Village in Munbic, Syria, some 37 kilometers away from the border, to Turkey. At the same time, Turkey also secured another area in Syria, Ashme, close to the border with Turkey to act as Shah’s temporary burial place.
The operation involved nearly 600 troops and 39 tanks to retrieve the remains and some 40 soldiers guarding them.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday that one Turkish soldier died in an accident early in the operation, which otherwise went smoothly without any skirmish or interruption.
The complex at the original burial place has now been rendered unusable on security grounds, and the Turkish special forces unit protecting the area has been brought back to Turkey, the prime minister added.
The operation was conducted due to the rising security concerns over escalating clashes between groups fighting inside the country, mainly threats from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, according to Turkish officials.