Mehmed IV

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Mehmed IV
محمد رابع
Caliph of Islam
Amir al-Mu'minin
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
4. Mehmet.jpg
11th Caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate
19th Ottoman Sultan (Emperor)
Reign August 8, 1648 – November 8, 1687
Predecessor Ibrahim
Successor Suleiman II
Co-monarch Turhan Hatice Sultan
Born 2 January 1642
Topkapı Palace, Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Died 6 January 1693 (aged 51)
Edirne, Rumelia Eyalet, Ottoman Empire
Consort Gülnûş Sultan (Legal wife)
Dynasty Osmanli (Ottoman)
Father Ibrahim
Mother Turhan Hatice Sultan
Religion Sunni Islam

Mehmed IV (Ottoman Turkish: محمد رابع Meḥmed-i rābiʿ; Modern Turkish: IV. Mehmet; 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. While the first and last years of his reign were characterized by military defeat and political instability, during the central years of his long reign he oversaw a revival of the empire's fortunes associated with the Köprülü era. Mehmed IV was known by contemporaries as a particularly pious ruler, and was referred to as gazi, or "holy warrior" for his role in the many conquests carried out during his long reign.[1]


Early life[edit]

Mehmed IV presided over much of the Köprülü Era, an exceptionally stable period of Ottoman history.

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,[2] and the grandson of Kösem Sultan of Greek origin.[3][4][5][6] 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. However, this left Mehmed with a lifelong scar on his head.[7][better source needed]


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; Mustafa I had been deposed twice and two Sultans had been killed, Osman and 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.[8]


Siege of Candia by the Ottoman army

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 (1660) 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.

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.

Great Turkish War[edit]

Main article: Great Turkish War
The siege of united Christian forces in Buda, 1686

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 Turkish 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[edit]

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. Sarı 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 later his wife, was 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[edit]

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[edit]

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 this section) 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).

Marriages and Issue[9][edit]


  • Emetullah Rabia Gülnuş Sultan, originally named Eugenia Voria and of ethnic Greek as the daughter of a Greek Orthodox priest or a member of the Venetian Verzzizi family.
  • Afifa Haseki (d. 1688).
  • Rabia Haseki.
  • Kaniya Haseki.
  • Siyavush Haseki.
  • Gul-Beyaz Iqbal.
  • Rukiya Bash-odalik.
  • Jihan-Shah Khanum, previously a Gozde.
  • Durriya Gozde.
  • Navruz Gozde.


  • Mustafa II (6 February 1664 – 29/30 December 1703) - son of Gülnuş Sultan.
  • Ahmed III (30/31 December 1673 – 1 July 1736) - son of Gülnuş Sultan.
  • Şehzade Bayazid (31 December 1678 – January 1679).
  • Şehzade Ibrahim (died young).
  • Şehzade Sulaiman (13 February 1681 – died young).


  • Ummi Sultan.
  • Gavher Sultan.
  • Khadija Sultan (1662 – 9 May 1743) - daughter of Gülnuş Sultan. Married:
    • firstly 9th July 1675, Admiral H.E. Damad Mustafa Pasha.
    • secondly 1690, H.H. Damad Murali Enista Hasan Pasha, Grand Vizier.
  • Ummatu'llah Sultan [Ummi Kucuk] (1670 – 13 December 1720). Married:
    • firstly 9 July 1675, H.H. Damad Kara Mustafa Pasha Maktul, Grand Vizier.
    • secondly 13 January 1694, H.E. Damad Xerxes Kucuk Osman Pasha, 5th Vizier 1698, 4th Vizier.
  • Fatma Sultan (1681 – 6 December 1700) - daughter of Gülnuş Sultan. Married:
    • firstly 20 January 1696, H.E. Damad Xerxes Ibrahim Pasha Tirnakji.
    • secondly 1697, Damad Topal Yusuf Pasha, Vizir 1697, and Amir-i-Haj at Damascus 1714. .
  • Daughter, married after 1687 Damad Kasim Mustafa Pasha, the Pasha of Adrianople.
  • Daughter (with Gul-Beyaz).


While Mehmed was able to bring much needed stability to the empire, he is generally remembered for surrendering much of his power to the Köprülü family of Grand Vezirs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Baer, Marc David (2008). Honored by the Glory of Islam: Conversion and Conquest in Ottoman Europe. Oxford University Press. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-19-979783-7. 
  2. ^ Natalia Yakovenko."Essays on History on Ukraine. From the Earliest Times until the End of the 18th Century". 1997.
  3. ^ E. van Donzel, Islamic Desk Reference: Compiled from the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Brill Academic Publishers, p 219
  4. ^ Robert Bator, Daily Life in Ancient and Modern Istanbul, Runestone Press, p 42
  5. ^ Douglas Arthur Howard, The History of Turkey, Greenwood Press, p 195
  6. ^ Kosem Sultan - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  7. ^ John Freely - Inside the Seraglio published 1999, Chapter 9: Three Mad Sultans
  8. ^ Streusand, Donald E., Islamic Gunpowder Empires: Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2011), p. 57.
  9. ^ The Imperial House of Osman: Genealogy [retrieved 7 March 2016].

External links[edit]

Media related to Mehmed IV at Wikimedia Commons

Mehmed IV
Born: January 2, 1642 Died: January 6, 1693[aged 51]
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
August 8, 1648 – November 8, 1687
with Kösem Sultan (1648–1651)
Turhan Hatice Sultan (1651–1683)
Succeeded by
Suleiman II
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Caliph of Islam
Ottoman Dynasty
August 8, 1648 – November 8, 1687
Succeeded by
Suleiman II