|Caliph of Islam
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Sultan Mehmed IV, c. 1682.
|Reign||8 August, 1648 – November 8, 1687|
|Sultan of the Ottoman Empire|
|Royal house||House of Osman|
|Mother||Turhan Hatice Sultan (Co-ruler)|
|Born||2 January 1642
Topkapı Palace, Constantinople, Turkey
|Died||6 January 1693 (aged 51)
Edirne, Edirne Province, Turkey
Mehmed IV Modern Turkish Mehmet (Ottoman Turkish: محمد رابع Meḥmed-i rābi‘; also known as Avcı Mehmed, Mehmed the Hunter; January 2, 1642 – January 6, 1693) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1648 to 1687. Taking the throne at age six, his reign was significant as he changed the nature of the Sultan's position forever by giving up most of his executive power to his Grand Vizier.
Born at Topkapı Palace, Constantinople, in 1642, he was the son of Sultan Ibrahim (1615–48) by Valide Sultan Turhan Hatice, a Ruthenian (Ukrainian) concubine, and the grandson of Kösem Sultan of Greek origin. Soon after his birth, his father and mother quarreled, and Ibrahim was so enraged that he tore Mehmed from his mother's arms and flung the infant into a cistern. Fortunately, Mehmed was rescued by the harem servants. His father's actions resulted in Mehmed cutting his head, which left him with a lifelong scar.
Mehmed ascended to the throne in 1648 at the age of only six. His ascension marked the end of a very volatile time for the Ottoman Dynasty; there had been a Mustafa I deposed twice and two Sultans killed, including Mehmed’s father and predecessor, Ibrahim. In addition to the palace intrigues, the empire faced severe problems, including uprisings in Anatolia, the defeat of the Ottoman navy by the Venetians outside the Dardanelles and food shortages leading to riots in Constantinople. It was under these circumstances that Mehmed's mother granted Köprülü Mehmed Pasha full executive powers as Grand Vizier. Köprülü took office on September 14, 1656.
Sultan Mehmed IV was known as Avcı, "the hunter", as this outdoor exercise took up much of his time.
His reign is notable for a brief revival of Ottoman fortunes led by the Grand Vizier Mehmed Köprülü and his son Fazıl Ahmet. They regained the Aegean islands from Venice, and Crete, during the Cretan War (1645–1669). They also fought successful campaigns against Transylvania (1664) and Poland (1670–1674). At one point, when Mehmed IV allied himself with Petro Doroshenko, Ottoman rule was close to extending into Podolia and Right-bank Ukraine. See Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks for his correspondence with the Cossacks.
A later vizier, Kara Mustafa was less able. Supporting the 1683 Hungarian uprising of Imre Thököly against Austrian rule, Kara Mustafa marched a vast army through Hungary and besieged Vienna at the Battle of Vienna. On the Kahlenberg Heights, the Ottomans suffered a catastrophic rout by Polish forces famously led by their King, John III Sobieski (1674–96), and his Holy League allies, notably the Imperial army.
But on September 12, 1683, the Austrians and their Polish allies under King Jan Sobieski took advantage of dissent within the Turkish military command and poor disposition of his troops, winning the Battle of Vienna with a devastating flank attack led by Sobieski's Polish cavalry. The Turks retreated into Hungary, however this was only the beginning of the Great Ottoman War as the armies of the Holy League began their long, but successful campaign to push back the Ottomans to the Balkans.
Later life and death
After the second Battle of Mohács (1687), the Ottoman Empire fell into deep crisis. There was a mutiny among the Ottoman troops. The commander and Grand Vizier Sarı Süleyman Pasha became frightened that he would be killed by his own troops and fled from his command, first to Belgrade and then to Istanbul. When the news of the defeat and the mutiny arrived in Istanbul in early September, Abaza Siyavuş Pasha was appointed as the commander and soon as the Grand Vizier. However, before he could take over his command, the whole Ottoman Army had disintegrated and the Ottoman household troops (Janissaries and Sipahis) started to return to their base in Istanbul under their own lower-rank officers. Sari Suleyman Pasa was executed. Sultan Mehmed IV appointed the commander of Istanbul Straits Köprülü Fazıl Mustafa Pasha as the Grand Vizier's regent in Istanbul. He made consultations with the leaders of the army that existed and the other leading Ottoman statesmen. After these, on 8 November 1687 it was decided to depose Sultan Mehmed IV and to enthrone his brother Suleiman II as the new Sultan. Mehmed was deposed by the combined forces of Yeğen Osman and the janissaries. Mehmed was then imprisoned in Topkapı Palace. However, he was permitted to leave the Palace from time to time, as he died in Edirne Palace in 1693. He was buried in Turhan Hadice Sultan's tomb, near his mother's mosque in Constantinople. Just before he died in 1691, a plot was discovered in which the senior clerics of the empire planned to reinstate Mehmed on the throne in response to the ill health of his successor, Suleiman II.
His favourite harem girl was Emetullah Rabia Gülnûş Sultan, who was a slave girl and his later wife taken prisoner at Rethymnon (Turkish Resmo) in the island of Crete. Their two sons, Mustafa II and Ahmed III, became Ottoman Sultans during (1695–1703) and (1703–1730) respectively.
Purported exchange with Cossacks
An incident during Mehmed IV's reign is remembered mainly in Ukraine and Russia. The Zaporozhian Cossacks defeated Ottoman forces in the field and refused the Sultan's demand to submit, answering him with a letter full of insults and profanities. This response is commemorated in the famous late 19th-century painting Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks by the Russian painter Ilya Repin.
The Quaker Mary Fisher
In 1658 Mehmed IV received and patiently listened to the English Quaker preacher Mary Fisher, who believed she was sent by God to speak to him. The meeting is known mainly from Fisher's own very favorable account (see Mary Fisher) rather than from Ottoman sources, so that it is not known precisely what the Sultan made of her message (which was relayed to him in translation).
- Natalia Yakovenko."Essays on History on Ukraine. From the Earliest Times until the End of the 18th Century". 1997.
- E. van Donzel, Islamic Desk Reference: Compiled from the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Brill Academic Publishers, p 219
- Robert Bator, Daily Life in Ancient and Modern Istanbul, Runestone Press, p 42
- Douglas Arthur Howard, The History of Turkey, Greenwood Press, p 195
- Kosem Sultan - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
- John Freely - Inside the Seraglio published 1999, Chapter 9: Three Mad Sultans
- Streusand, Donald E., Islamic Gunpowder Empires: Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2011), p. 57.
- Some sources state that she was originally an ethnic Greek named Evmania while others state that she was of Venetian Verzini family settled in Crete.
Media related to Mehmed IV at Wikimedia Commons
Mehmed IVBorn: January 2, 1642 Died: January 6, 1693[aged 51]
|Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Aug 12, 1648 – Nov 8, 1687
|Sunni Islam titles|
|Caliph of Islam
Aug 12, 1648 – Nov 8, 1687