Ahmet was the oldest living son of Beyazıt II; his mother was Bülbül Hatun. In Ottoman tradition, all princes (Turkish: şehzade) were required to serve as provincial (sanjak) governors in Anatolia (Asiatic part of modern Turkey) as a part of their training. Ahmet was the governor of Amasya, an important Anatolian city. Although the status was not official, he was usually considered as the crown prince during the last years of his father's reign, in part because of the support of the grand vizier, Hadim Ali Pasha.
Ahmet had two living brothers. Of the two, Korkut was governing in Antalya and Selim (future sultan Selim I) in Trabzon. Custom dictated that whoever first reached Istanbul after the death of the previous sultan had the right to ascend to throne (although disagreements over who had arrived first very often led to civil wars between the brothers, most prominently displayed in the Ottoman Interregnum), so the distances from the sanjaks to Istanbul more or less determined the succession and usually whoever the previous sultan favored the most as his successor. In this respect, Ahmet was the most fortunate because his sanjak was the closest to Istanbul.
Although Selim's son Süleyman had been assigned to Bolu, a small sanjak closer to Istanbul, upon Ahmet's objection, he was relocated to Caffe in Crimea (modern Ukraine). Selim saw this as an unofficial display of support for his older brother and asked for a sanjak in Rumeli (the European portion of the empire). Although he was initially refused on the ground that Rumeli sanjaks were not offered to princes, with the support of the vassal Crimean khan Meñli I Giray (who was his father-in-law), he was able to receive the sanjak of Semendire (modern Smederevo in Serbia), which, although it was technically in Rumeli, was quite far from Istanbul nevertheless. Consequently, Selim chose to stay close to Istanbul instead of going to his new sanjak. His father Beyazıt thought this disobedience insurrectionist; he defeated Selim's forces in battle in August 1511, and Selim escaped to Crimea.
While Beyazıt was fighting against Selim, Ahmet was tasked with suppressing the Şahkulu Rebellion in Anatolia. However, instead of fighting, Ahmet tried to win over the soldiers to his cause for winning the Ottoman throne and left the battlefield. His attitude caused unease among the soldiers; more importantly, his main supporter, Hadim Ali Pasha, lost his life during the rebellion.
Hearing about Selim's defeat by their father, Ahmet declared himself as the sultan of Anatolia and began fighting against one of his nephews (whose father had already been dead). He captured Konya, and although his father Beyazıt asked him to return to his sanjak, he insisted on ruling in Konya. Although he also attempted to capture the capital, he failed because the soldiers blocked his way, declaring their preference for a more able sultan. Selim then returned from Crimea, forced Bayezit to abdicate the throne in favor of himself, and was crowned as Selim I.
Battle against Selim
Ahmet continued to control a part of Anatolia in the first few months of Selim's reign. Finally, the forces of Selim and Ahmet fought a battle near Yenişehir, Bursa on April 24, 1513. Ahmet's forces were defeated; he was arrested and executed shortly after.
Şehzade Ahmet is the main antagonist in the video game Assassin's Creed Revelations.
- Prof. Yaşar Yüce-Prof. Ali Sevim: Türkiye tarihi Cilt II, AKDTYKTTK Yayınları, İstanbul, 1991 pp 226-231
- Joseph von Hammer: Geschichte der osmanischen Dichtkunst (condensation Mehmet Ata) Millitet yayınları, İstanbul pp 229-236
- NicolaeJorga:Geschichte des Osmanischen, (trans. by Nilüfer Epçeli), Yeditepe yayınevi, İstanbul, ISBN 975-6480-19-x, p.263-264