11 November 2019

TİKA Restores the Century-old Ottoman Consulate

The last Ottoman consulate in the Ethiopian city of Harar, which has a brand new look as a result of the restoration works of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), has been brought into service as a cultural center under the roof of the Turkish Maarif Foundation.

The cultural center was opened by the Turkish Ambassador to Addis Ababa Yaprak Alp, the Turkish Maarif Foundation Board of Trustees Member Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cihad Demirli, TİKA Addis Ababa Coordinator Mehmet Ali Yetiş, and Harari Region President Ordin Bedri.

The opening ceremony was attended by families of Turkish origin from the Ottoman period, who still live in Harar in the region.

Making a statement after the opening, Ambassador Yaprak Alp stated that this building is of great importance for Turkey as it is the first diplomatic mission in Ethiopia.

Noting that the history which is about to be forgotten will be kept alive through the museum to be established in the center where Turkish will be taught and vocational training activities will be held, Alp said, “We will devote a part of the museum to families of Turkish origin and we will include their stories from past to present.”

Alp said the families of Turkish origin broke in tears in the opening.

– Harar came under the Ottoman rule in the 19th century

Isma'il Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, and his army entered Harar in 1875 and established the first Ottoman rule.

The Egyptians, who stayed in Harar for 10 years, withdrew on May 20, 1885, appointing Emīr Maḥamed’s son Abd Allah II ibn 'Ali 'Abd ash-Shakur as Emir of Harar and handing over the weapons and some of the officers to him.

After political relations were established between the Ottoman Empire and Abyssinia in 1911, the Ottoman Consulate-General was opened in Harar.

The first thing that the first Consul General Necib Hac Efendi did was to identify the Ottoman subjects in Ethiopia. Ahmed Mazhar Bey, who was appointed as the Consul General after him, managed to turn an unforgettable page in the history of the country with his works.

According to historical sources, Mazhar Bey, who was attending to the Muslims of Ethiopia while protecting the rights of the Ottoman subjects, helped Ethiopia's young heir Lij Iyasu to become a Muslim thanks to his relationship with him.

Mazhar Bey, who opened one of the first branches of the Red Crescent (Turkish Red Crescent) abroad in Harar, also collected help for the Ottoman Navy Association.

The Consulate-General in Harar which dealt with matters of not only Abyssinia, but also Yemen, Aden, and Hadhramaut, was moved to Addis Ababa in 1913 taking into account the difficulty of following important issues from Harar.

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