Fatih Sultan Mehmet

Osmanlı Padişahı, Hükümdar

29 Mart, 1432
03 Mayıs, 1481
Diğer İsimler
II. Mehmed, Avnî

The Conqueror of Istanbul, 8th Ottoman Sultan, poet (B. March 29, 1432, Edirne - D. May 3, 1481, Gebze). He has used the pseudonym Avnî in his poems. His father was Sultan Murad II, 7th Ottoman Sultan and his mother was Huma Hatun. He was tall with fleshy cheeks and a curved nose. Before his ascending the throne with the name Mehmed II and between his two reigns, he served as the governor of Manisa sanjak. He became the padishah two times, between August 1444 - August 1446 and between February 1451 – May 3, 1481. He ascended the throne at the age of twenty for the second time upon the death of his father and the first thing he did was embarking on an expedition to frequently revolting Karamanoğlu Principality but he forgave the apologising Karamanoğlu İbrahim Bey. That was because Mehmed II was first of all thinking about the conquest of Istanbul. For the sake of his big goal, he was also soft on the Magyars, Serbians and Byzantines. His aim was to stop the crusaders from uniting forces, not to provoke them and to gain time. The dwindling down Byzantine Empire, who was at the end of his one thousand year history, had become a state ruling only over Istanbul. Still, the presence of the Byzantine was posing danger with respect to the Turkish dominance in Balkans.  

Padishah Mehmed II started to make necessary preparations for the conquest of Istanbul. Muslihuddin Saruca Sekban, an engineer of the period and Magyar Urban who took refuge in Ottoman, charged with cannon casting at Edirne. In addition to these cannons which were called as “Şahî”, wheeled towers, and chip cannonballs (howitzer) were also manufactured. These big cannonballs played a key role in the conquest of Istanbul. Also, Rumeli Hisarı (Rumeli Fortress - Boğazkesen) was built opposite to the Anadolu Hisarı (T.N. Anatolian Fortress), which was built during Yıldırım Bayezid’s Istanbul siege.

Mehmed II, who completed the preparations, took over Istanbul (May 29, 1453) after about two and a half year from the beginning of his reign, ended the East Roman Empire and moved  the capital from Edirne to Istanbul. After this accomplishment, he began to be called as Fatih Sultan Mehmed (T.N. Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror). Fatih Sultan Mehmed achieved being the big commander who were praised by the Prophet Muhammad in his well known hadith saying “Verily one shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader he will be, and what a wonderful army that army will be” and known as the world emperor closing the Middle Age and opening the New Age.

The conquest of Istanbul led to very important consequences. After the conquest of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmed launched many expeditions to Europe in order to strengthen his dominance in the West, enlarging the borders and spreading Islam to the farthest places. With Serbia (1454, 1459), Morean (1460), Wallachia (1462), Moldova (1476), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Venice (1463-1479), Italy (1480) and Hungary expeditions, he strengthened the dominance in Europe of the Ottoman Empire.

 Fatih was also aiming to dominate the Black Sea. Starting out to prevent the slave trade made by Venetians and Genoese against the Islamic world, to invade the Crimea coasts where is crucial for shipping the trade goods coming to Istanbul and to make Black Sea an Ottoman Lake, Fatih firstly conquered Amasra in 1459. In 1460, Candaroğulları Principality was ended. On October 26, 1461, he included Trabzon into Ottoman Territories and imbedded Pontus Empire in history. With the invasion of Crimea in 1475, the Black Sea completely entered into the domination of Ottomans. Thus, the Genoese dominance over the Black Sea ended and full control of the Silk Road passed to the Ottomans. The Kingdom of Serbia was completely dissolved and made an Ottoman sanjak, Morean was completely conquered, Wallachia was made an Ottoman province, Bosnia was taken under the Ottoman sovereignty again and Albania was invaded. After Ottoman-Venetian Sea Wars, which lasted for sixteen years, the Venice accepted to make a peace agreement. During expedition to Italy, Otranto, which was a key centre regarding the conquest of Rome, was taken but it was lost upon the sudden death of Fatih Sultan Mehmed.

In the spring of 1481, he departed from Istanbul for expedition together with the army; however he got sick because of podagra at Maltepe. He couldn’t progress further and died at Tekürçayırı (Gebze) on May 3, 1481 at the age of 51. He was buried in the tomb carrying his name, next to the Fatih Mosque.

Fatih, who was educated very well, could speak six foreign languages and was one of the great scholars of the period. He loved reading very much. He got lessons on the ancient history and had translations made. He read philosophical works translated into Arabic and Persian.

The poet padishah Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the first “Divan” owner Ottoman padishah, was frequently gathering the scholars, poets and artists and conversing with them. He had articles written on various subjects and reviewed them. Akşemseddin, who was also his teacher, was one of the most valuable scholars for Fatih Sultan Mehmed. The Sultan, who knew very well the graces of saying poems and the value of poem, always promoted and protected the scholars and poets.

In order to make Istanbul an important cultural centre, he brought important scholars of the period such as the big mathematician and a scientist of astronomy, Ali Kuşçu, who was the student of Kadızade Rumi and served in the observatory of Ulugh Beg, Molla Husrev, Hocazade Muslihuddin Mustafa, and Hatipzade Muhyiddin Mehmed. On the hill where old Havariyyûn Church of East Rome and old emperor graves were located, he built eight madrasahs called “Sahn-ı Seman” and an imaret and hospital affiliated to the mosque. In 1466, he had the Batlamyos Map translated again and the names on the map written in Arabic letters. Regarding the scientific issues, he always protected the scholars from different nationalities, regardless of their religions or sects and had them write several works. He invited the famous painter Gentile Bellini to Istanbul between 1479 and 80 and had Bellini make his portrait. He examined the Christian doctrines (issues on faith and worship) and discussed with Gennadios Scolarius, whom he appointed as the Istanbul’s Patrick.

When Fatih Sultan Mehmed took over Bosnia, he gave the territory’s people’s the freedom of living based on their religions, in pursuance of the Ottoman state policy. According to the enactment dated 1478 that he gave to the Latin priests there, the minorities lived in full freedom.

Fatih, who was given a strong Sufism upbringing, became a fair sultan. He respected the human rights and freedoms very much, he granted a complete language and conscience freedom to the nations he dominated.

During his reign, he joined twenty five expeditions within approximately twenty eight years. He was a very good commander and ruler, and a determined, deliberate, strong-minded person who was certainly putting his decisions into practice.

Fatih, at the same time, was a strong poet of his period. His poems were incorporating an outstanding modesty, a grace keeping love superior to reign and a simple and clear style very close to spoken language. He has considerable number of poems advising working and struggling for Allah.

In 1966, his poems were collected by Kemal Edip Ünsel in a book called “Fatih’in Şiirleri (T.N. The Poems of Fatih)”. In addition, a forty pages review on the poems of Fatih has been published in 1954 by Prof. Abdülkadir Karahan with the name Şair Avnî – Fatih (T.N. Poet Avnî).

 REFERENCE: Kemal Edip Ünsel / Fatih’in Şiirleri (1946), Selahattin Tansel / Osmanlı Kaynaklarına Göre Fatih Sultan Mehmed’in Siyasî ve Askerî Faaliyeti (1953), Samiha Ayverdi / Edebi ve Manevi Dünyası İçinde Fatih (1953), Halil İnalcık / Fatih Devri Üzerinde Tetkikler ve Vesikalar (1954), Abdülkadir Karahan / Şair Avnî - Fatih (Türk Dili ve Edebiyatı Dergisi, c. 6, sayı: 38, 1954), İsmail Hakkı Uzunçarşılı / Osmanlı Tarihi (c. 2, 1975), Adnan Adıvar / Osmanlı Türklerinde İlim (1982), Coşkun Ak / Şair Padişahlar (2001), İskender Pala / Fatih’in Şiirleri (2003), İhsan Işık / Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007) - Ünlü Devlet Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 1, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013). 


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