Şehzade Mustafa

Şehzade Mustafa (Ottoman Turkish: شهزاده مصطفى‎; 6 August 1515 – 6 October 1553) was an Ottoman prince and the son of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his consort Mahidevran Sultan. He was the prince-governor of Manisa from 1532 to 1542, of Amasya from 1542 to 1549, and of Konya from 1549 to 1553. Şehzade Mustafa was the heir apparent to the Ottoman throne and an immensely popular prince among the army and the populace prior to his execution, by the order of his father Suleiman.

Şehzade Mustafa
Şehzade Mustafa.jpg
A posthumous engraving of Mustafa, dated 1584
Prince-Governor of Manisa
Reign1532 - 1542
SuccessorŞehzade Mehmed
Prince-Governor of Amasya
Reign1542 - 1549
Prince-Governor of Konya
Reign1549 - 1553
Born(1515-08-06)6 August 1515
Manisa Palace, Manisa, Ottoman Empire
Died6 October 1553(1553-10-06) (aged 38)
Konya, Ottoman Empire
IssueNergisşah Sultan
Şehzade Orhan
Şehzade Mehmed
Şehzade Suleiman
Şah Sultan
FatherSuleiman the Magnificent
MotherMahidevran Hatun


The murder of Mustafa in 1553 was the subject of the 1561 French tragedy La Soltane by Gabriel Bounin.

Şehzade Mustafa was born on 6 August 1515 in Manisa to Şehzade Suleiman (the future sultan) and Mahidevran.

Mustafa's relationship with his father was problematic. Though he was the first of Suleiman's sons to survive childhood and the most likely heir, his father preferred Mustafa's younger half-brother, Şehzade Mehmed, the eldest son of Hürrem Sultan, the most prominent of Suleiman's consorts and later his legal wife.

It is difficult to discern what sort of relationship Mustafa had with his half-brothers Mehmed (born 1521), Selim (born 1524), Bayezid (born 1525), and Cihangir (born 1531). While it is true that Selim treated Mahidevran like his own mother by giving her back her wealth and helping to build Mustafa's türbe in Bursa, Mustafa was raised primarily apart from his half-brothers having left for his sanjak with his mother when they were still young. This, along with the rules of fratricide, would have made it difficult for them to have a close relationship. So the true scale of their relationship is not completely known.

In 1541, he faced a second shock after being sent to Amasya from the more prominent Manisa; the rule of Manisa was given to Mehmed, while Şehzade Selim and Şehzade Bayezid were sent to Konya and Kütahya for their sanjak assignments. However, after he was sent to Amasya, Mustafa got the news of an edict written by Suleiman: he had sent him to Amasya not because he did not want him to be his heir, but to defend the eastern part of Anatolia and learn how to manage a large empire.[1][page needed] This relieved the Ottoman army and the people of Anatolia, as Şehzade Mustafa was the popular successor to the throne.

In Amasya, he got the news of the death of his brother Mehmed on 6 November 1543. It seemed like all barriers between the throne and Mustafa were gone, but he still faced another challenge. Selim was sent from Konya to Manisa in 1544, while Şehzade Bayezid remained in Kütahya. It was a critical decision, as they were Hürrem's sons, the mother of the late Mehmed. Hürrem's support of her own sons made Mustafa's political career difficult, but he successfully ruled Amasya for 8 years.

In 1547, during Suleiman's Elkas Campaign, the sultan met with his sons Selim, Bayezid, and Mustafa in different locations to discuss the political situation. It was well after the death of Mehmed, but the competition between the three princes was still going on.

In 1549, as a reward for his excellent participation in the Ottoman-Safavid War, Mustafa moved to Konya for his sanjak assignment.[2] The rumours and speculations say that Mustafa's life was now in danger, as Hürrem and Rüstem Pasha had made a court alliance against him in favor of Hürrem's sons, Selim and Bayezid.


Strangling of Şehzade Mustafa; engraving by Cl. Duflos, 18th century

During Suleiman's Persian campaign, his army halted in Ereğli for a while. While Suleiman's army was in Ereğli, Rüstem Pasha made an offer to Mustafa to join his father's army. At the same time he warned Suleiman and persuaded him that Mustafa was coming to kill him.[3]

Mustafa accepted Rüstem Pasha's offer and assembled his army to join his father's. Suleiman saw this as a threat and ordered the execution of his son. When Mustafa entered his father's tent to meet with him, Suleiman's guards attacked Mustafa, who after a long struggle was killed by Mahmut Ağa, Rüstem Pasha's right hand.[4]

After the death of the prince, the Janissaries and Anatolian soldiers of Mustafa rebelled against Suleiman's decision. The Janissaries supported Mustafa because of Ottoman traditions about succession and the success of Mustafa as a warrior.

The people blamed Suleiman's wife Hürrem and his son-in-law Rüstem, and even the Sultan himself for this unfair execution. After the protests of the army, Suleiman dismissed Rüstem from his position as grand vizier and sent him back to Istanbul. Hürrem is usually held at least partly responsible for the intrigues in nominating a successor to the throne, though there is no evidence to support this.[5]

Suleiman ordered that Mustafa be given a state funeral in Istanbul. After a week lying in state at Hagia Sophia, Mustafa was laid to rest in a large mausoleum in Bursa. Mustafa's execution caused unrest in Anatolia, especially in Amasya, Manisa and Konya, because the people saw him as the next sultan and because of his generosity and braveness. The poet Taşlıcalı Yahya composed an elegy for the dead prince. His story was similar to the story of Sultan Cem.


His only known consort was of Crimean origin and born in 1525, though her name is not known. It is also not certain which of his four children she gave birth to.

  • Nergisşah Sultan (1536-?1592) She married Dâmâd Cenâbî Ahmed Paşa and was widowed in 1562. Her husband was Governor of Kütahya for 20 years.
  • Şehzade Mehmed (1546, Amasya - 1553, Bursa) Died shortly after his father and is buried next to him. Believed to be assassinated as well.
  • Şehzade Orhan (died c. 1552 in Konya)
  • Şah Sultan (c. 1547, Konya – 2.10.1577) Married Damat Abdülkerim Pasha, Amasya's governor.[6]

Depictions in literature and popular cultureEdit

An Ottoman miniature of Şehzade Mustafa

In 1561, eight years after Mustafa's death, the French author Gabriel Bounin wrote a tragedy titled La Soltane about the role of Hürrem Sultan in Mustafa's death.[7] This tragedy marks the first time the Ottomans were introduced on stage in France.[8] In 1739 a British play Mustapha by David Mallet was performed at Drury Lane.[citation needed]

In the television series Muhteşem Yüzyıl, Mustafa is played by Turkish actor Mehmet Günsür.[9]


  1. ^ Afyoncu, Erhan (2012). Şehzade Mustafa. Atlas Tarih.
  2. ^ Sakaoğlu, Necdet; Bu Mülkün Sultanları, page 137.
  3. ^ "TABLE OF CONTENTS". mateo.uni-mannheim.de.
  4. ^ "A General History of the Near East, Chapter 13". xenohistorian.faithweb.com.
  5. ^ Peirce, Leslie P. (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press. p. 60. ISBN 0-19-508677-5.
  6. ^ Yılmaz Öztuna, Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (Sayfa: 174-189), Babıali Kültür Yayınları, 2006
  7. ^ Tilley, Arthur Augustus (December 2008). The Literature of the French Renaissance. p. 87. ISBN 9780559890888.
  8. ^ The Penny cyclopædia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. 1838. p. 418.
  9. ^ "Mehmet Günsür: Sehzade Mustafa, Sehzade Mustafa". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-10-23.

External linksEdit