Şehzade Bayezid

Şehzade Bayezid (Ottoman Turkish: شهزاده بايزيد‎‎; 1525 – 25 September 1561) was an Ottoman prince as the son of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and Hurrem Sultan. After the execution of Şehzade Mustafa (who had been the heir apparent to the Ottoman throne) in 1553, Bayezid became the popular heir among the army. Throughout the 1550s, when Suleiman was already in his 60s, a protracted competition for the throne between Bayezid and his brother Selim became evident. Bayezid had fallen into disfavor with his father – who was angered by Bayezid's disobedience stemming from around the same years – as opposed to Selim (who would eventually succeed as Selim II). After being defeated in a battle near Konya in 1559 by Selim and Sokullu Mehmet Pasha (with the help of the Sultan's army), he fled to the neighbouring Safavid Empire, where he was lavishly received by Tahmasp I. However, in 1561, on the continuous insistence of the Sultan throughout his son's exile, and after several large payments, Tahmasp allowed Bayezid to be executed by agents of his own father.

Şehzade Bayezid
Şehzade Bayezid.jpg
An Ottoman miniature showing Suleiman the Magnificent with his son, Şehzade Bayezid
Topkapı Palace, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Died25 September 1561(1561-09-25) (aged 35–36)
Qazvin, Safavid Empire
Melik-i Acem Türbe, Sivas
IssueŞehzade Orhan
Şehzade Osman
Şehzade Abdullah
Şehzade Mahmud
Şehzade Mehmed
Mihrimah Sultan
Hatice Sultan
Ayşe Sultan
Hanzade Sultan
FatherSuleiman the Magnificent
MotherHurrem Sultan


Bayezid was born in 1525 in Constantinople (Istanbul) during the reign of his father, Suleiman the Magnificent. His mother was Hurrem, an Orthodox priest's daughter from present-day Ukraine who was the sultan's concubine at that time. At the time of his birth, Bayezid had three elder full-brothers, Mehmed (born 1521), Abdullah (born 1522), and Selim (born 1524). He also had one elder half-brother Mustafa (born 1515) and later one younger full-brother, Cihangir (born 1531). In 1533 or 1534, breaking a two-century-old tradition, his father freed and legally wed his mother.[1]

As a court rule, şehzades were appointed to govern a province in order to gain administrative experience. Bayezid became the governor of Kütahya. However, during his father's 12th campaign to Nakhchivan (part of modern Azerbaijan) in 1553, he was assigned to rule in Edirne (the Ottoman capital of Rumelia, which was the European territories of the Ottoman Empire) in the absence of his father. During the campaign, Şehzade Mustafa, Suleiman’s eldest son and the popular heir to the throne, was executed upon the sultan’s order. The news of the execution caused unrest in all parts of the empire and an impostor claiming to be the executed Mustafa rebelled against Suleiman in Rumelia. Although the rebellion was subdued by a vizier, Suleiman suspected that his son Bayezid was deliberately slow to react.[2]

Competition for the ThroneEdit

Suleiman had five sons who lived to reach adulthood. His second son, Mehmed, had died of smallpox in 1543. After the execution of Mustafa (Suleiman's eldest who had been the most potential heir to the throne) and the death of Cihangir (the youngest brother who suffered from extremely poor health) in 1553, only two princes were left to be the potential claimant to throne: Bayezid and Selim (the future Selim II). Bayezid was the governor of Kütahya and Selim was the governor of Manisa, two cities at almost equal distance from Istanbul, the capital.

Suleiman was in his 60s, and the competition between the two brothers over the throne was evident. Suleiman scolded his sons and decided to change their places of duty. Bayezid was assigned to rule Amasya and Selim to Konya, both provinces being further from Constantinople but still equidistant. Selim was quick to obey and promptly moved to Konya, but to the dismay of his father, Bayezid obeyed only after much hesitation. Angered, Suleiman accused Bayezid of being a rebel and supported his elder son Selim against Bayezid. Selim, in collaboration with Sokollu Mehmet Pasha (the future grand vizier) and with additional help from his father's army, defeated his brother in a civil war at Konya in May 1559.

Refuge in the Safavid EmpireEdit

Bayezid returned to Amasya and escaped to the Safavid Empire with his sons and a small army. According to journalist and historian researcher Murat Bardakçı, Sokullu Mehmet Pasha sent an army after Bayezid, which was defeated by Bayezid's forces.[3] In the autumn of 1559, he reached the Safavid town of Yerevan, where he was received with great respect by its governor. Some time later, he reached Tabriz, where he was welcomed by Shah Tahmasp I. Although Tahmasp I initially wholeheartedly and lavishly welcomed Bayezid, including giving magnificent parties in his honour, he later jailed him on the request of Sultan Suleiman.[4][5] Both Suleiman and Selim sent envoys to Persia to persuade the shah to execute Bayezid. For the coming one and half year in fact, embassies would continue to travel between Istanbul and Qazvin. On 16 July, what would be the last of the Ottoman embassies would arrive, whose formal task, like the previous embassies, was to try return Bayezid to Istanbul.[6] As stated by Prof. Colin P. Mitchell, this included Khusrau Pasha (the governor of Van), Sinan Pasha, Ali Aqa Chavush Bashi, and a retinue of two hundred officials.[6] In the letter that was given with the embassy, Suleiman also declared his readiness to reconfirm the Treaty of Amasya (1555) and to begin a new era of Ottoman–Safavid relations.[6] Suleiman, throughout the embassies, also gave Tahmasp numerous gifts. He also agreed with Tahmasp's demand to pay him for handing Bayezid over (400,000 gold coins were given[7][8]). Finally, on 25 September 1561, Bayezid and his four sons were handed over by Tahmasp and executed in the environs of the Safavid capital Qazvin by the Ottoman executioner, Ali Aqa Chavush Bashi, through the way of garrotting.[9][6] They were laid to rest in Sivas.


Bayezid had nine children. All of them were issue of different mothers, except Şehzade Osman and Şehzade Mahmud who were full brothers. Şehzade Orhan was his eldest child.[10]


Bayezid had five sons:

  • Şehzade Orhan[10] (1543, Kütahya Palace, Kütahya – killed on 25 September 1561, Qazvin, buried in Melik-i Acem Mausoleum, Sivas);[11]
  • Şehzade Osman[10] (1545, Kütahya Palace, Kütahya – killed on 25 September 1561, Qazvin, buried in Melik-i Acem Mausoleum, Sivas);[11]
  • Şehzade Abdullah[10] (1548, Kütahya Palace, Kütahya – killed on 25 September 1561, Qazvin, buried in Melik-i Acem Mausoleum, Sivas);
  • Şehzade Mahmud[10] (1552, Kütahya Palace, Kütahya – killed on 25 September 1561, Qazvin, buried in Melik-i Acem Mausoleum, Sivas);[11]
  • Şehzade Mehmed[10] (1559, Amasya Palace, Amasya – killed on 3 October 1561, Bursa, buried in Melik-i Acem Mausoleum, Sivas);[11]

Bayezid had four daughters:

  • Mihrimah Sultan[10] married Damat Müzaffer Pasha;
  • Hatice Sultan;[10]
  • Ayşe Sultan,[10] married Damat Ali Pasha;[12]
  • Hanzade Sultan[10]

In popular cultureEdit

In the 2011–2014 TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl he is portrayed by Aras Bulut İynemli.


  1. ^ Kinross, Patrick (1979). The Ottoman centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire. New York: Morrow. ISBN 978-0-688-08093-8. p, 236.
  2. ^ An essay on Süleyman's sons (in Turkish)
  3. ^ Habertürk newspaper Murat bardakçı's article (in Turkish)
  4. ^ Faroqhi, Suraiya N.; Fleet, Kate (2012). The Cambridge History of Turkey: Volume 2, The Ottoman Empire as a World Power, 1453–1603. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1316175545. Tahmasp, thus presented with the opportunity to take revenge for the reverse flight of his own brother some years before, received Bayezid with great honour, as Suleyman had Alkas Mirza
  5. ^ Clot, André (2012). Suleiman the Magnificent. Saqi. pp. 1–399. ISBN 978-0863568039. "(...) In the autumn of 1559, the prince reached Yerevan, where the governor received him with the greatest respect. A little later, Shah Tahmasp, delighted to have such a hostage in his hands, went to Tabriz to welcome him. The shah held magnificent parties in his honour. Thirty heaped plates of gold, of silver, of pearls and precious stones, "were poured on the prince's head".
  6. ^ a b c d Mitchell 2009, p. 126.
  7. ^ Van Donzel, E.J. (1994). Islamic Desk Reference. BRILL. p. 438. ISBN 978-9004097384.
  8. ^ Lamb, Harold (2013). Suleiman the Magnificent - Sultan of the East. Read Books Ltd. pp. 1–384. ISBN 978-1447488088. Four hundred thousand gold coins were sent to Tahmasp by the hand of an executioner
  9. ^ Joseph von Hammer: Osmanlı Tarihi Vol II (condensation: Abdülkadir Karahan), Milliyet yayınları, İstanbul. p 36-37
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Nahrawālī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad; Blackburn, Richard (2005). Journey to the Sublime Porte: the Arabic memoir of a Sharifian agent's diplomatic mission to the Ottoman Imperial Court in the era of Suleyman the Magnificent ; the relevant text from Quṭb al-Dīn al-Nahrawālī's al-Fawāʼid al-sanīyah fī al-riḥlah al-Madanīyah wa al-Rūmīyah. Orient-Institut. p. 151. ISBN 978-3-899-13441-4.
  11. ^ a b c d Taş, Kenan Ziya. Osmanlılarda lalalık müessesesi. Kardelen Kitabevi. pp. 99–100, 130–1.
  12. ^ Haskan, Mehmet Nermi (2008). Eyüp Sultan tarihi, Volume 2. Eyüp Belediyesi Kültür Yayınları. pp. 419, 536. ISBN 978-9-756-08704-6.