Kanuni Sultan Süleyman

Osmanlı Padişahı, Şair

27 Nisan, 1494
07 Eylül, 1566
Diğer İsimler
I. Süleyman, Muhibbî, Muhib, Meftunî, Muhteşem Süleyman

The tenth sultan of the Ottoman Empire and poet (B. 27th April 1494, Trabzon - D. 7th September 1566, Szigetvár / Hungary). He is also called as Süleyman I. His father was Yavuz Sultan Selim and his mother was Hafsa Hatun. He was the father of the Sultan Selim II. He also used the pen names (nicknames) “Muhibbî”, “Muhib” and “Meftunî” in his poems. His father Yavuz Sultan Selim educated him very carefully since his early ages. He received an unprecedented schooling and education. He took his elementary education from his mother and his grandmother Gülbahar Hanım (the mother of Yavuz Sultan Selim). He was sent next to his grandfather Sultan Bayezid II in Istanbul when he turned seven years old. While the prince Süleyman took lessons of history, science, literature and religion from Karakızoğlu Hayreddin Hızır Efendi, he also took an education on the techniques of war.

Shahzadah Süleyman was firstly assigned as the district governor of Şarki Karahisar, then of Bolu, and finally of Kefe (1509) after a short while. Shahzadah Süleyman, who was called to Istanbul upon the accession of Yavuz Sultan Selim to the throne in 1512, stayed in Istanbul during the conflict between his father and his brothers and he deputized for his father. In this while, he also worked as the district governor of Saruhan (Manisa). Upon the death of his father, he ascended the Ottoman throne on 30th September 1520, when he was twenty five years old.

The Ottoman Empire was in the position of the richest and strongest state of the world when Kanunî ascended the throne. The death of his father and his accession to the throne rejoiced the ones who were thinking that “The lion is dead, the lamb replaced him”. However, the ones who thought like this were disappointed soon enough. The period of his sultanate became a period in which the Turkish domination reached its peak point. Kanunî, who obtained successes one after another and who continued the conquests in Europe, also dealt with many rebellions during his sultanate. He went to his last expedition to Hungary. The castle of Szigetvár was laid siege. However, Kanunî Sultan Süleyman, who was seventy one years old and who wielded the scepter for forty six years, deceased during the siege. The castle was still captured despite the news of the death of the sultan.

When he ascended the throne in 1521, Kanuni Sultân Süleyman executed Canberdi Gazâli, who was the governor general of Damascus and who announced his sovereignty with the title of Melik Eşref by taking advantage of the change of the government. After that, he realized one of his famous expeditions, the First Imperial Campaign, on Belgrade. At the end of this expedition that is also referred as the First Hungarian Expedition or the  Magyar (Hungary) Expedition, the castles of Böğürdelen (Šabac), Zemun and Salankamen were conquered respectively and Belgrade, which took the name Dâr’ül-Cihâd later on, joined the Ottoman possession in 1521. When the person named İskender creating disturbances was killed by his men in this while in Yemen, the sermons started to be delivered in the name of the Sultan of Ottoman in these towns, starting from the date of 1521.

Sultan Süleyman organized the Second Imperial Campaign on Rhodes and the islands. At the ends of the year 1522, the castles of Bodrum, Tahtalı and Aydos, together with the islands of Khios, Simi and Rhode were included to the Ottoman country. The fact that Rhodes was taken created a big surprise and sadness in Europe. The small rebellions that broke out in Anatolia and Egypt in this while were suppressed in the same year. The peace and public order were provided in the country. In this while, the Janissaries were inappreciative by virtue of the fact that they couldn’t make prize in the wars. The Janissaries prompted a revolt in Istanbul on 16th May 1525 by taking advantage of the departure of Pargalı Damat İbrahim Pasha to Egypt during the time Sultan Süleyman was in Edirne. They plundered the residences of the statesmen such as the Vizier Ayas Mehmet Pasha, the chamberlain Abdüsselam and the palace of the Grand Vizier İbrahim Pasha in particular, the customs, the stores and the public houses. Kanunî reached the Topkapi Palace when the rebellion was still going on. He executed the Janissary Aga Mustafa Ağa as the first job. Bali, who was the chamberlain of Mustafa Paşha, and Reisülküttap  (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Haydar was also imprisoned because they had gotten into this event and they were put to death after a while. The rebellion was settled before being spread more by virtue of the fast and severe interference of the Sultan to the event.

The Third Imperial Campaign of Kanunî is also known as the Second Magyar Expedition or the Expedition of Mohács. With this expedition, Hungary, Croatia, Transylvania and Dalmatia were annexed to Ottoman lands. The Ottoman armies, which conquered the Castle of Petervardin on the Danube River in the date of 1526, took respectively the castles in the region of Syrmia, Ilok and more than ten castles and the castle of Osijek near the river Drava afterwards. After that, the capital city of Hungary, Buda, was taken in September of the year 1526. Kanuni changed the balance in the Central Europe with this expedition and the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire reached Austria and Czechoslovakia.  

Kanuni organized the Fourth Imperial Campaign on Hungary upon the fact that Ferdinand advance towards Buda by taking support from Germans and Buda fell again under the sovereignty of Ottoman in 1529. He captured Esztergom on their route and advanced towards Vienna where Ferdinand was hiding himself. Kanunî was planning to make the Fifth Imperial Campaign against the German Charles V and Hungarian Ferdinand who became hopeful again upon some failures. He started this expedition in 1532. He succeeded to capture more than fifteen castles starting from the castles of Siklós, Nagykanizsa and Güns in particular, which opened the way to Vienna to Ottoman armies. Kanunî took back Buda, and he also took the castles of Pápoc, Sopron, one of the old capital cities Gradcas, Pojega, Zacisze, Nemce, and Podgrad. He returned back to Istanbul in 1532 by making a peace agreement with Germans.

The Sixth Imperial Campaign on the West is also known as the Irakeyn Expedition or the Expedition of Iran. Tahmasp I, who was the second great enemy of Kanunî after Charles V, was enforcing the judicator of Bitlis for entering under his sovereignty and he was causing problems to the Ottoman Empire in the East. Upon this, the Eastern Expedition started in the year 1533 with the direction of the Grand Vizier (Prime Minister) İbrahim Pasha. After Adilcevaz, Erciş, Van and Ahlat were taken, Tabriz was entered into in 1534. The Sultan also participated to the expedition in the September of the same year and Bagdad was reached  from the way of Hamadan and Qasr-e Shirin after passing the weir of the river Karahan. Bagdad surrendered without resisting in the December of 1534. Iraq towns such as Kirkuk and Hillah became a part of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the regions of South Iraq, Kuwait, Lahsa, Qatif, Nejd, Qatar and Bahrain. All of these regions were connected to the Ottoman Empire with the name of the State of Basra (24th July 1538). During this while, Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha conquered Tunis in the same year and connected it to the Ottoman Empire.

It is advanced towards the Venetians on the Seventh Imperial Campaign. Even though Corfu and Otranto were attacked, peace was made upon the peace request of the Venetians and the desire of the King of France and they returned Istanbul in the year 1537. Meanwhile, the soldiers of the enemy who approached to Vertizo in East Croatia near Osijek were killed.

The Eight Imperial Campaign was conducted against Kara Boghdan, namely Moldavia. While Kanunî was attacking Moldavia in 1538, Hadım Süleyman Pasha sailed through the Suez Canal and captured Yemen and Aden and laid siege to the Castle of Diu in India. Again in the same year, Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha, who had earlier annexed western Algeria to the Ottoman Empire, transformed the Mediterranean Sea into an Ottoman lake with the Preveze Naval Victory. On the other hand, although the campaign to Kara Boghdan ended in peace, the Ottoman frontiers were continually expanding both in the region of Moldavia, and along the Danube.

The Ninth Imperial Campaign was the expedition made to Budin in 1541. With the death of the King Janosh Zapolya in Hungary, who was under the protectorate of the Ottoman Empire (1540), and with the fact that Austrian Ferdinand wanted to invade these places and even besieged Buda and Pest, Kanunî returned to these regions. With the expedition dated in 1541, he transformed Hungary to a part of the state of Buda.

Even though Ferdinand besieged Buda and Pest again with the support of the Germans, the Tenth Imperial Campaign of Kanunî obliged both Ferdinand and the Germans, who supported him, to retreat in 1543 and to request the Ottoman Empire for a peace treaty. At the end of this expedition, Esztergom, the religious center of Hungary, and Istolni-Belgrade were annexed to Buda as two important district centers. Pech and Shiqlosh were taken back. Since all the European states were obliged to accept the concluded agreement, Kanunî certainly won his title of “World Sultan” with this expedition and the title “Emperor” could only be utilized for Suleiman the Magnificent from that moment on.

The Eleventh Imperial Campaign of Suleiman the Magnificent was waged against Iran. Tabriz was taken back with this Second Iran Expedition conducted in the years of 1548-49. He conducted his Third Iran Expedition between the years of 1553-55, which was also his Twelfth Imperial Campaign, in general. It is also referred as the Nahjewan Campaign. When the Sultan reached South Azerbaijan through North Azerbaijan in the year of 1554, the Shah asked for peace. With the treaty concluded in Amasya in 1555, Georgia was divided between them while the former borders with Iraq remained the same. Kanunî, who was discouraged by the problems of Shahzadah Mustafa and Shahzadah Bâyezit, waged his final great expedition on Zigetvar in the year 1566. Suleiman the Magnificent deceased in his tent at the age of 72 while laying siege to that city.

Kanunî Sultan Süleyman protected the men of science, culture and art and supported their works. The most obvious example in the high value he gave to literary works was when the translated work named Hümayunnâme” was presented to him, he read this work in one night and he appointed the translator Alaadin Çelebi as the kadi (T.N. Muslim judge) of Bursa. The Divan of the Sultan Kanunî, who was a poet of gracious feelings and thoughts, comprised of poems of love, sensation, heroism and meditation. The couplet “There is nothing valued more than `devlet` by the people / There is no `devlet` in the world like one breath of health” (‘devlet’ was used with its meaning ‘state’ in the first sentence and ‘welfare’ in the second), of which the meaning grew bigger since it was said by an emperor, settled in the Turkish community language and ear a value of proverb. He was impressed by Persian poets such as Fuzulî, Ahmet Pasha, Necâti, Hayalî and especially by Bakî in the field of poetry. He concentrated seriously on the art of poetry and put forward one of the most voluminous divan of the Ottoman Divan literature.

The following words of Ortalon, who is one of the famous orientalists, are important in showing what type of Sultan he was:

If the works of Sultân Süleyman were put in an order, there will be his battles on the bottom, the monuments he left above this and the scientific and legal institutions he founded on the top.


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