18 January 2022
18 January 2022 marked the return to the original grave at the Enoch Sontonga Braamfontein Cemetery of a distinguished and professional diplomat of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmet Remzi Bey, 106 years after his untimely death.
Mehmet Remzi Bey was the first and last Ottoman Consul General to South Africa. He was born on 30 December 1869 in İstanbul to a family of Ottoman aristocrats and upon completion of professional training he joined the Ottoman Foreign Service at the age of 23.
Mehmet Remzi Bey served with distinction at the Ottoman diplomatic missions in various countries including Bulgaria, Crimea, Iran, and Georgia. He was then appointed Consul General to South Africa in Johannesburg on 21 April 1914, shortly before the outbreak of World War I.
Upon the Ottoman Empire’s entry into the war, despite his diplomatic status he was summarily interned by the colonial government of Great Britain in South Africa. He suffered unprecedented difficulties during his detention. He suffered serious illness without treatment and was only released when it appeared that he would not survive.
Consul General Mehmet Remzi Bey died a few short weeks after his release from detention on 14 February 1916, at the young age of 46, due to a major brain hemorrhage and was buried at the Muslim section of the Braamfontein cemetery in Johannesburg.
On 21 November 2011 the remains of Mehmet Remzi Bey had been transferred by FETO terrorist organization to its facility in Midrand through deceit and falsified documents.
His remains were returned to his original resting place in Braamfontein cemetery by order of the Pretoria High Court, after being exhumed from the Midrand Mosque.
Thus Consul General Mehmet Remzi Bey was be reburied in the Braamfontein Cemetery after an Islamic Funeral Service at 11:30 am in the presence of his granddaughter, Turkish officials and citizens, in compliance with Covid 19 protocols.
The Embassy of Turkey in South Africa thanked the family of the deceased who was with the Embassy throughout the legal struggle, their lawyer followed the legal process carefully, and the authorities of the Republic of South Africa who ensured the supremacy of the rule of the law.