Eighth Ottoman Padishah (B. December 3rd, 1447, Dimetoka – D. May 26th, 1512, Çorlu). Also known as Sofu Bayezid. Bayezid II, whose mother was Mükrime Hatun, was the elder son of Mehmed II (Fatih Sultan Mehmed) and the father of Yavuz Sultan Selim. When he was the Shahzade (T. N. crown prince), he was well educated and was sent to Sanjak so he could gain experience in military and administrative command. It was recorded in the sources that he knew how to read the Uygur alphabet and could speak a bit of Italian. He took lessons in calligraphy from Şeyh Hamdullah. The estimable statesmen like Çandarlı İbrahim II and Yahya Pasha were assigned to deal with his education and upbringing. During the reign of his father Fatih Sultan Mehmed, Bayezid II served as the sanjak bey (T. N. governor) of Amasya and fought in the Battle of Otlukbeli. The death of his father Fatih was kept secret from the other princes and hence from the public as well for seventeen days and Prince Bayezid, who was the governor of Amasya, was brought to Istanbul and was enthroned (1481).
He became sultan by the fact that Janissaries supported him after his father Fatih Sultan Mehmed died near Maltepe when he was on an expedition. Rumelia Governor Hersekoğlu Ahmed Pasha and Anatolia Governor Sinan Pasha, who took sides with him against his brother Cem, also played a significant role in his accession to the throne. Because Grand Vizier (prime minister) Karamanî Mehmed Pasha supported the younger prince Cem and wanted him to succeed to throne with a fait accompli by inviting him to Istanbul after the death of Fatih. However, the janissaries took sides with Bayezid and paved the way for him by slaying Grand Vizier and Fatih’s special clerk Yakup Pasha so Bayezid could be enthroned. During this turmoil, İshak Pasha, Istanbul guardian and supporter of Bayezid, in order to gain time by easing the situation, enthroned the 11-year-old prince Korkut by proxy, and after the funeral of Fatih, on May 22nd, 1481 Bayezid took over the throne and declared his Sultanate.
With the death of Fatih, the Christian world obtained what they wanted and Rome was saved from being a center of Islam. The incident of prince Cem was the cherry on the cake. Sultan Bayezid, who called the army that was under the command of Gedik Ahmed Pasha back from Italy, was occupied with primarily Cem Sultan and Mamelukes until 1495. Despite all these difficulties, he made his first campaign on Morava in 1483 and the second campaign on Moldavia in 1484. Since 1485, Ottomans and Mamelukes, the greatest powers of the world, had fallen out with each other. By sending troops to Çukurova in May 1485, the Ottomans officially started war against the Mamelukes who did not provide the security of Ottoman pilgrims. Yet, Mameluke Sultan Kayıtbay did not want the hostility to last, because Spain, who was oppressing the Muslims in Andalusia and Portugal and also the entire Christian world, was benefiting from this situation. In conclusion, the long lasting years of war that had generally favored the Mamelukes came to an end with Ramadanids being left to the rule of Mamelukes and Dulkadirids being left to the rule of Ottomans.
After the death of Cem Sultan in 1495 and the peace made with Mamelukes, Bayezid II, for whom the years of real reign had begun once more, initially launched a campaign on Poland who was pestering Moldavia. On top of that; a war broke out with Venice, Hungary and Spain, who already had hostility with the Ottoman Empire. Bayezid II made his 4th and 5th expeditions in 1499 and in 1500 on Venice respectively. After the end of these wars that lasted for four years, Venice had to surrender all of its colonies in the Balkans, primarily Peloponnese and Greece to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman armies achieved important conquests by the battles fought in Bosnia and Hungary.
Following these achievements, the issues of Sheikh Cüneyt and his son Sheikh Haydar, who were among the sheikhs of Safavids sect in Erdebil, Shah İsmail and his Shiite state, who was keeping away Ottoman Empire from its conquests, emerged. In 1460 Sheikh Cüneyt was killed but Sheikh Haydar, who replaced him, took the problem much further. The real problem started with Shah İsmail, the grandson of Uzun Hasan. Young Turcomans, who were gathered from Anatolia with the help of Shah İsmail, were brought to Erdebil and after receiving Shi’a education there they were sent to Anatolia as Shiite mullahs under the name Ottoman Sofus. Thereon, Prince Yavuz Selim, who had been the governor of Trabzon since 1487, immediately launched a campaign onto Georgia. As a result of this campaign, the Ottoman armies under the command of Yavuz defeated the Safavid army that was commanded by Shah İsmail's son İbrahim Mirza near Erzincan. The public protested the passiveness of Yavuz’s father by singing folk songs for Yavuz “Go for it Sultan Selim, it is your time!”
The point which seemed insurmountable was the fact that Shah İsmail managed to be both the shah and the sheikh. Therefore, his caliph, Şah Kulu, a Turcoman from Antalya, who became a real Shiite mullah by going to Erdebil, was preparing to cause trouble to the state again with the nomads he had gathered around himself. Grand Vizier Ali Pasha marched on him and killed him in Gökçay near Sivas in 1511. In the meantime, the supporters of Prince Korkut and Ahmed wanted to prevent Yavuz Selim, who went to Crimea and then went to Edirne to speak to his father. Hence, they brought the army of his father against the army of Prince Selim in Çorlu. Yavuz withdrew saying that he would not raise his sword against his father (1511). In the same year Prince Ahmed, taking advantage of the chaos, declared his sultanate in Konya.
Sultan Bayezid, who knew that most of the state officials and janissaries wanted Selim as their sultan, understood that there was no other way. Nur Ali Şah, the caliph and one of the best men of Shah Ismail, stirred up turmoil in Amasya and Tokat and the fact that Shahzade Ahmed came to Konya because he was not able to counter him was making things easier for Selim. Upon these incidents, Bayezid II, who had abdicated the throne on April 24th, 1512, in support of Prince Selim, left for Dimetoka after staying in Eski Saray (Old Palace) for 11 days. He died near Çorlu on his way to the residence that was allocated for him. He was brought to Istanbul, and was buried in the tomb built in his name in Bayezid Mosque. The cause of his death is suspicious.
Sultan Bayezid II was one of the rare Ottoman Sultans that was called “veli”(T. N. saint). He was described as virtuous, straight, devout and charitable by the historians. It was written in the sources that he always prayed, went to mosques and helped to poor. It’s told that he protected and supported scientists, artists, poets and that in his reign Istanbul was full of scholars and artists. Bayezid, who was also a scholar, poet and calligraphist, wrote poems using the pen name “Adli”. Due to these personality traits, he was given the titles “sofu” and “veli”.
During his reign, Bayezid II had many charitable buildings constructed in several locations and primarily in Istanbul. The Bayezid Mosque and Külliye (T.N. Ottoman Islamic social complex) which he had had built in Amasya between 1481 and 1486 consists of a mosque, madrasah, imaret and fountain. The Bayezid Mosque and its külliye, which he had had built in Istanbul, was completed in a short period of time such as four years by Mimar Yakup Ağa. Bayezid, having had a külliye built in Edirne, brought a mosque, madrasah, tabhane (a kind of hotel), imaret, hospital in the neighborhood which is still known as Yeni İmaret. Except these two great works of him, he had also two bridges built on the rivers of Tunca and Kızılırmak. It was recorded in the sources that he also had bridges built in Geyve and Sakarya. The Pirinç Han in Bursa is also one of his charities. Bayezid II, who kept up with doing all kinds of charities in his country, refused to give a ship to Christopher Columbus, who asked for it in 1584 to start his voyage of discovery and who discovered the North America.
The information on his family shows that he had a large harem. A rumor has it that he had 8 women and another has it that he had 19 women. He had nine sons and twelve daughters of his twenty one children from those women.