A Syrian man who fled his native Kobani for Turkey during the Islamic State’s siege of the border town claims the Turkish government has turned his land into the new location of the tomb of Suleyman Shah, and hopes he will be compensated for the “millions” he claims his land is worth.
“I had six hectares of land. Now soldiers have been positioned across all of it. I have to buy a new plot of land, but I need money for it,” Bozan Osman told Turkish daily Habertürk, translated by the English-language Hurriyet Daily News. Osman claims he was never asked permission for the use of the land, though he claims a military officer did approach the administrator of Karakozak village inquiring about the land.
Osman now lives in Turkey after fleeing the Islamic State, though he expresses a desire to return to his native Syria and reconstruct his life alongside his eight children, two brothers, and mother. He told Habertürk that, despite the lack of information he received regarding his land so far, he remains optimistic that the Turkish government will treat him justly.
“I don’t see it as an occupation by Turkey. Turkey builds a shrine and a military post there because it has to,” he stated, adding, “I think Turkey will not victimize me.” He did tell the publication that he was open to using international law against the Turkish government if they refused to repay him for the land.
None of the multiple reports on Osman’s remarks (they also appeared in abbreviated form in the Turkish newspaper Cümhuriyet) mention an official response from the Turkish government, which is still working to generate more positive press on the tomb’s move.
The tomb of Suleyman Shah– grandfather of the first Ottoman Sultan– had reportedly become a prime target for the Islamic State, as the only piece of Turkish territory unattached to the rest of the country. To prevent an attack, the Turkish government engaged in a military operation this weekend to evacuate their soldiers from the region and move the medieval artifacts at the tomb’s location to a new territory further from ISIS battle zones– Osman’s alleged land.
While Turkey has called the operation a success, the Syrian government described it as “flagrant aggression” and a violation of Syrian sovereignty. Syrian minister of state for national reconciliation Ali Haidar described the military action as an “act of war.” Despite this, the Turkish government has begun calling for Turks to engage in visits to the tomb, encouraging tourism to its new location.