Monday, January 7, 2008


Mehmet II was born on 29th March 1432, in Edirne. He was the son of Sultan Murad II. His mother was Huma Hatun. He was a tall, strong and muscular man.

Mehmet II was a statesman and a military leader. He was also interested in literature, fine arts and monumental architecture. He was educated by famous scholar Aksemseddin. Mehmet was speaking seven languages fluently. Another worthy tribute to the Ottoman ruler is the famous portrait of him by Gentile Bellini. He also interested in philosophy and science. He invited Ali Kuscu the famous astronomer to the observatory in Istanbul.

Mehmet II was ascended the throne in his 20th year.He took the name �conqueror� (fatih) after the conquest of Istanbul on 29th May 1453.

The conquest of Istanbul spelled the end of the Byzantine Empire and entered a phase of urban revival under the wise and tolerant administrations of Mehmet and his immediate successors. The capture of Istanbul was followed by a long succession of campaigns which resulted in a tremendous extension of direct Ottoman rule. Among those areas that fell to Mehmet II were Serbia, Greece, the Empire of Trezibizond, Wallachia, Bosnia, Karaman, Albania and several Venetian and Geneose maritime establishments.

He ruled the Ottoman Empire for 30 years and joined 25 campaigns himself. He was a very strict statesman and a very brave soldier. He took place in front of his army in the wars and he encouraged his soldiers.

The emperor had died on 3rd May 1481. He was buried in �Fatih Turbesi� (tomb), near the Mosque of Fatih in Istanbul.

Sons: Mustafa, Bayezid II, Cem, Korkut
Daughter: Gevrehan Sultana



From the moment of his accession all Mehmet�s thoughts were directed to the great enterprise of giving the mortal below to the Byzantine Empire and transferring the seat of his government to Istanbul, as the natural capital of a dominion situated on both sides of the Golden Horn (Halic).



Fatih was aware of the fact that, the capture of Istanbul would brought a commercial and cultural richness to his Empire. Moreover, he would took control of the straits and the Black Sea. The famous engineers of the time, as Musluhiddin and Saruca Sekban designed new cannons. Those huge cannons had a great role during the conquest.

On the European side, about five miles above the city, where the channel is the narrowest, Sultan Mehmet raised a fortress opposite to one on the Asiatic side which had been erected by his predecessor Yildirim Bayezid. These fortifications were called the castles of Europe (Roumelia) and Asia (Anatolia). They were intended to command the intervening waters and to secure a point constituted by nature on the high road for both continents.

During those preparations, the peace treaties with Wallachia and Serbia were renovated and a peace treaty was signed with the Hungarians.

The Byzantine Empire was preparing as well. They were stored food for a possible long term siege and they were restoring the city walls. The Byzantine Emperor Constantine heard of the rise of massive towers in his neighbourhood and his anxiety had increased. He asked for the help of the Christian World, but the Pope desired to unify the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches together and the struggle between two Churches had been raised, the Emperor had to forgot a new Crusade.

The SIEGE and the WAR


After the preparations had been finished Sultan Mehmet sent a messenger to the Emperor and invited him to surrender. However, Constantine rejected this request. In April 1453 Sultan Mehmet invested the city with an army of a hundred and twenty thousand men, desolated the environs and confined the inhabitants within their walls. The army was divided in to three, central, left and right. In April 19 the first attack was made. Roller towers were constructed to reach the city walls.

There was a very bloody war going on and the Venetian and Genose navies were helping the Byzantine Empire. Mehmed had realised that unless the Ottoman Navy did not involved in the war, it would very difficult to capture the city. However, the entrances of the Golden Horn(Istanbul Strait) were surrounded with huge chains and it was impossible to enter. As a genius commander Sultan Mehmet had designed a mechanism to slide the ships from the land to the sea. Huge slides were built and they were oiled and the ships were moved downwards, on 22th April, 72 Turkish ships were located on the Golden Horn and began to bombard the city walls.

Because of the long and bloody wars, the Ottoman Army began to lose faith, but, Sultan Mehmet never lost his faith and bravery, he made an oration to his soldiers and declared that on May 29 the fatal attack will be made and Istanbul will be captured. As he told, 29th May the fatal attack was made and a company led by Hassan of Ulubad crossed the ruins in the ditch, gained the breach and mastered the position. The Emperor Constantine fell in defending it. Istanbul has fell.

The siege took 53 days, there were four great attacks of Sultan Mehmet�s army; one in April 19, one in May 6, one in May 12 and the last one in May 29. In the end, 1125 years old Byzantine Empire had came to an end and Istanbul became a Turkish city.



After the Conquest of Istanbul, Mehmet the Conqueror took many campaigns in Europe. He invaded Sebia (1454-1459), Mora (1460), Wallachia (1462), Moldavia (1476), Bosnia, Albania and he marched through Italy and captured Otranto but after his death the city was lost again.



Mehmet the Conqueror wanted to rule the Black Sea and to blockade the Venetian and Geneose authority and slave trade in that region. In 1475, he invaded Crimea and the Black Sea became a Turkish Lake. Moreover, he took the control of the Silk Road.



The ruler of the Karaman�s Ibrahim died in 1464 and his successors had fallen into a throne struggle. At last, Ishak Bey accessed the throne by the support of Uzun Hasan the ruler of the Akkoyunlu State. However, Pir Ahmed (brother of Ishak) rejected Ishak�s accession and asked for an Ottoman support. Mehmet the Conqueror helped Pir Ahmed and enthroned him by dethroning his brother Ishak. But, Pir Ahmed made an agreement with the Venetians and ruined his relations with the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Mehmed organised a campaign to the Karaman State immediately. He captured Konya and Karaman, the people of these regions had immigrated to Istanbul. Pir Ahmed escaped to Akkoyunlu State and the Akkoyunlu-Ottoman relations had ruined.

Akkoyunlu State was located in the Eastern Anatolia, Caucasusia, Iran and Iraq. The Ottoman Empire�s land was on the West Anatolia and Europe. On 11th August 1473 in Otlukbeli, two armies came across. The Ottoman Army was very well organised and they had the most powerful weapons of the time. In few hours, the Akkoyunlu Army was defeated and the Akkoyunlu threat had disapeared.



With the conquest of Istanbul the Ottoman Empire took the control of all the commerce roads. However, the Venetian and Geneose trading was continuing. Sultan Mehmet decided to take all the control of the seas, and began to campaign to the Aegean Islands. He built new ships and dockyards.



Mehmet the Conqueror can be named as the second founder of the Ottoman Empire. After the conquest of Istanbul he declared himself The Emperor of The Byzantine (Kaiser-i Rum) and established governmental institutes. First written construction was made by him and named as Kanunname-i Ali Osman (Laws of the Ottoman State). He gave his grand vizier authority to co-ordinate the divan (council). He began to observe the meetings of the council behind a curtain.

Mehmet the Conqueror moreover, classified the governmental duties and defined the ranks of the officers as defterdar(finance minister), kazasker (chef military judge). He established a central administrative system and organised a very powerful army.

He conquered the lands that had been lost in the reign of Yildirim Beyazid. With the capture of Crimea, Turkish sovereign in the Black Sea was proved. All the clans, principalities and states were unified in the Anatolia. The Turks had advanced through Belgrade.

In his reign many famous poets, scientists, philosophers came to Istanbul and Istanbul turned out to be the centre of arts and culture.



Mehmet the Conqueror was a great statesman and during his reign the Ottoman lands entered a period of urban revival. In this period, 300 mosques, 57 universities (medrese), 59 baths, 29 covered markets (bedesten), many palaces, fortresses, castles, inns and bridges were constructed. In Istanbul, he transformed 8 churches in to mosques, one of them is famous Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya).

In 1470 the construction of Fatih Kulliyesi (University) was finished. Eyup Camii and Fatih Camii are the important mosques built in this period as well.

Famous Kapali Carsi (Covered Market) was built and became an important trade centre. The Topkapi Palace was built in Sultan Mehmet�s reign as well.

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