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Sultan Bayezid II

Sultan Bayezid Han IIBeyazit Han (Bayezid II) is the 8th sultan in the Ottoman dynasty. Born in 1447 (or 1448), his father was Mehmed II and mother Mukrime Hatun. When his father died in May 1481, Beyazit Han ascended the throne in Istanbul as the oldest son of the deceased sultan. But at the same time Cem Sultan (Sehzade Cem), Bayezid's brother, claimed the throne in Bursa. Thus Bayezid called his army back from Otranto in Italy in order to fight his brother. Cem Sultan lost the struggle and he took refuge in Egypt first, then passed to Rhodes and then to France. He lived for 14 years in exile until his death in 1495 on the way to Italy, where he was buried. After 4 years from Cem Sultan's death, his corpse was brought back to the Ottoman lands in 1499 and buried next to his brother, Sehzade Mustafa, at Muradiye mosque in Bursa.

Bayezid Han spent most of his time on the throne fighting against his brother Cem Sultan and the Mamluk Sultanate. He ran his first campaign in 1482 to Morava (near Czech Republic today) and in 1484 to Bogdan (between Moldavia and Romania today). He fought many battles against Mamluks between 1484-1495 but lost most of them. He fought against the Republic of Venice in 1499 and 1500, capturing the whole Balkan lands. There were also successful wars in Hungary and Bosnia.

In 1492 sultan Bayezid Han dispatched his Navy to bring the Jewish population who were expelled from Spain and they were brought safely to the Ottoman lands.

After 1502, the Shiite shahs of the Safavid Order in Iran started hostility against the Ottoman Empire and ran campaigns into Anatolia. Bayezid II didn't react much against this order but his son, Yavuz Sultan Selim (Selim I), who was the ruler (Sancakbeyi) of Trabzon at that time, took the initiative and defeated the Safavids in Georgia and Azerbaijan.

In September 1509 Bayezit II had to deal with a series of terrible earthquakes which shook central and northern Anatolia, as well as Istanbul and Edirne. This was the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the Ottoman lands with the heaviest death toll and destruction. The sultan ordered to reconstruct and restore these damaged cities.

During the last years of sultan Bayezid Han's rule, his sons went into battle against each other in order to obtain power and the throne, which destabilized the Ottoman dynasty. Bayezid Han realized the risk of a possible disintegration of his Empire, therefore in April 1512 he decided to descend from the throne and leave it to his son Ahmet first. But when the Jannisseries rebelled, Bayezid had no choice to leave the rule to his other son Selim I, which was believed to be the most capable one to run the Ottoman Empire.

After standing aside from the throne, Bayezid Han was headed to his hometown near Edirne but he died on the way on 26th of May 1512. Today his mausoleum is located at Beyazit mosque in Istanbul.

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