An Ottoman miniature of Şehzade Mustafa
|House||House of Osman|
|Father||Suleiman the Magnificent|
Manisa, Ottoman Empire
|Died||6 October 1553 (aged 37–38)
Konya, Ottoman Empire
|Burial||Muradiye Complex, Bursa|
Şehzade Mustafa Muhlisi (Turkish pronunciation: [ʃehzaːˈde mustaˈfa muhliˈsi]) (1515, Manisa – October 6, 1553, Konya), was the prince of Manisa from 1533 to 1541 and the prince of Amasya from 1541 to 1553. He was Suleiman the Magnificent's first-born son by Mahidevran Sultan. Şehzade Mustafa was the heir apparent to the Ottoman throne and a very popular prince among the people of Anatolia. He had one sister, Raziye Sultan, from her mother's side.
Mustafa was born in 1515 in Manisa to Sultan Suleiman I and his consort Mahidevran Sultan, while Suleiman was still a prince. Mustafa experienced problems in his relationship with his father since very early in his life. He was the first-born son and therefore the heir apparent to the throne, but his father, according to some historians, was more interested in Mustafa's younger half-brother Şehzade Mehmed, the eldest son of Hürrem Sultan, the most prominent one of Suleiman's consorts and his legal wife. Suleiman created more opportunities to the younger one and appeared to be preparing him for the throne. His father's treatment further displeased Mustafa. Then, he faced a second shock after being sent to Amasya from the more prominent Manisa. The rule of Manisa was given to Mehmed. However, after he was sent to Amasya, Mustafa got the news of an edict written by Suleiman. To Mustafa's pleasant surprise, It indicated that Mustafa was the only heir to the throne; Suleiman had sent him to Amasya not because he did not want him to be his heir, but in order to defend the east coast of the Ottoman Empire and learn how to manage a large empire. This edict also relieved the Ottoman army and people, as Şehzade Mustafa was the popular successor to the throne.
In Amasya, he got the news of the death of his brother Mehmed. It seemed like all barriers between the throne and Mustafa were gone, but he still faced another challenge. Another brother of Mustafa, Şehzade Bayezid, was sent to Konya for his sanjak assignment. It was a critical decision, as they were Hürrem Sultan's sons, the mother of the late Mehmed. Her support of her own son, Bayezid, made Mustafa's political career difficult, but he successfully ruled Amasya for 12 years. In 1547, during Sultan Suleiman’s Elkas Campaign, the sultan met with his sons Selim, Bayezid, and Mustafa in different places and talked to them about the political situation. It was long after the death of Mehmed, but the race between the three princes was still going on. Selim was sent to Anatolia as the prince of Manisa in 1544.
During Suleiman’s Persian campaign, his army settled 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.
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, and after a long struggle they killed him using a bow-string.
After the execution
After the death of the prince, the janissaries and Anatolian soldiers of Mustafa protested the decision of Suleiman. Mustafa’s army found the execution unfair because they believed that the reason for the execution was due to political manoeuvrings of Hürrem Sultan and Rüstem Pasha. The Janissaries supported Mustafa because of Ottoman traditions about succession and the success of Mustafa as a warrior. After the protests of the army, Suleiman dismissed Rüstem from his position as grand vizier and sent him back to Istanbul.
Suleiman ordered that Mustafa be given state funeral in Istanbul. After a week lying in state at the Hagia Sophia, Mustafa was laid to rest in a large mausoleum in Bursa.
Mustafa’s execution caused unrest in Anatolia, especially in Amasya, because the people saw him as the next sultan. People were angry at Rüstem and others who were accused of taking part in the conspiracy to kill Mustafa. In some regions of Anatolia, people reminisced Mustafa as Sultan Mustafa as though he had successfully inherited throne. His life and fate became a part of Anatolian Turkish literature. The Anatolian poet Taşlıcalı Yahya (tr) composed an elegy for the dead prince. His story was similar to the story of Sultan Cem.
Marriages and issue
Şehzade Mustafa had one wife:
- Rumeysa Sultan mother of Şehzade Mehmed and his legal wife, and favorite consort
He had four known children:
- Nergisşah Sultan born at Manisa in 1536. She married Damat Cenabi Ahmet Pasha in 1555. She died in 1562.
- Şehzade Mehmed born in 1547 at Amasya, he died on 10 December 1553 at Bursa .
- Şehzade Orhan died in 1552 at Konya.
- Şah Sultan born at Konya in 1547. Died on 2 October 1577. She was married to Zevci Damat Abdülkerim Aga.
Depictions in literature and popular culture
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. This tragedy marks the first time the Ottomans were introduced on stage in France.
- Afyoncu, Erhan (2012). Şehzade Mustafa. Atlas Tarih.
- Sakaoğlu, Necdet; Bu Mülkün Sultanları, page 137.
- Beosch, Moritz. The Height of the Ottoman Power; Murder of Prince Mustafa
- A General History of the Middle East, Chapter 13: Ottoman Era, Suleiman the Magnificent