Ottoman–Persian War (1821–1823)

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Ottoman–Persian War of 1821–1823
Part of the Ottoman–Persian Wars

Persian Soldiers troops at the Caucasus front.
Date10 September 1821 – 23 July 1823

Persian military victory[1][2][3]

Qajar Iran
Commanders and leaders
Fath-Ali Shah Qajar
Abbas Mirza
Mohammad Ali Mirza
Ottoman Empire Mahmud II

The Ottoman–Persian War of 1821–1823[a] was fought between the Ottoman Empire and Qajar Iran from 1821 to 1823.[5]


Tensions between the two empires had been rising due to the Ottoman Empire's harboring of rebellious tribesmen from the Iranian Azerbaijan Province.[6] The issues concerning the Kurdish borderland tribes such as the Haydaran and Sipki tribes had complicated the relations between the two empires. For instance, Iran launched a military campaign against Dervish Pasha, the muhafiz of Van, when he refused to return the Sipki Kurdish who took refuge and settled in Archesh.[7]

The Ottoman-Persian War that began in 1821 was also part of a series of wars between the two empires, which was attributed to the influences of foreign powers, particularly Great Britain and the Russian Empire.[8] The Persians and the Ottomans were within their respective spheres of influence and were drawn to their rivalry. The Russian Empire was attempting to put pressure on the Ottoman Empire, which was then at war with the Greeks.[6]


Crown Prince Abbas Mirza of Persia, at the instigation of the Russian Empire, invaded Western Armenia and the areas surrounding the Iranian province of Azerbaijan.[6] On 10 September 1821, the Iranian forces marched out of Tabriz towards the border.[9] On 16 September, Iranian forces crossed the border at Gürbulak and stormed the Bayezid Fortress in November 1821, securing Persian supply routes. As the Iranian army marched into the region, they went after the Heydaran tribesmen, who would flee to Diyarbakir.[10]

After Abbas Mirza's successful winter campaign, he withdrew most of his forces to Tabriz while leaving garrisons in significant towns and cities.[11] The Turks began to organize a counterattack, organized under the new serasker, Mohammad Amin Rauf Pasha. They planned to steamroll the garrisons in Eastern Anatolia and occupy parts of Azerbaijan to prevent Iran from gathering their troops, and force a peace on Ottoman terms.[11] However, the fortress of Toprah Kaleh stood in the way of Ottoman plans due to its' strategic location. The Sardar of Erevan kept raiding Ottoman positions around Toprah Kaleh, allowing Abbas Mirza precious time to recover forces to relieve the fortress. The resulting battle in May 1822 was a defeat for the Ottomans, but the Iranians were unable to take advantage of their success.[11]

The governor of Baghdad was defeated by Mohammed Ali Mirza who then besieges the city, his untimely death ends the siege.[12] Meanwhile, Abbas Mirza marched into eastern Anatolia with 30,000 troops and met an Ottoman army of 50,000 at the Battle of Erzurum. Abbas Mirza scored a crushing victory over the Ottomans despite being severely outnumbered and his army suffering from a cholera epidemic.[6]


Peace was not concluded until the Treaty of Erzurum two years later;[13] both sides recognized the previous borders established by the Treaty of Zuhab in 1639,[14] with no territorial changes. Also included in the treaty, was the guaranteed access for Persian pilgrims to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina within the Ottoman Empire.[6]


  1. ^ Also known as the Ottoman–Iranian War of 1821–1823, or Turko–Persian War 1821–1823.[4]


  1. ^ Williamson 2008, p. 88-97.
  2. ^ Farmanfarmaian, Roxane, ed. (30 January 2008). War and peace in Qajar Persia implications past and present. ISBN 978-1-134-10307-2. OCLC 1294638373.
  3. ^ Ateş, Sabri (30 July 2015). The Ottoman-Iranian borderlands : making a boundary, 1843-1914. ISBN 978-1-107-54577-9. OCLC 980068476.
  4. ^ Williamson 2008, p. 88.
  5. ^ Sicker 2001, p. 118.
  6. ^ a b c d e Tucker 2010, p. 1140.
  7. ^ Ateş 2013, p. 49.
  8. ^ Sorkhabi 2017, p. 43-44.
  9. ^ Keçeci, Serkan (October 2016). The grand strategy of the Russian Empire in the Caucasus against its southern rivals (1821-1833) (phd thesis). The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
  10. ^ Çiftçi, Erdal (April 2018). Fragile alliances in the Ottoman East: the Heyderan Tribe and the empire, 1820 - 1929 (Thesis). Bilkent University.
  11. ^ a b c Farmanfarmaian, Roxane, ed. (30 January 2008). War and peace in Qajar Persia: Implications Past and Present. ISBN 978-1-134-10307-2. OCLC 1294638373.
  12. ^ Ward 2009, p. 76.
  13. ^ Williamson 2008, p. 108.
  14. ^ Mikaberidze 2011, p. 301.


  • Ateş, Sabri (2013). Ottoman-Iranian Borderlands: Making a Boundary, 1843–1914. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107033658.
  • Williamson, Graham (2008). "The Turko-Persian War of 1821-1823: winning the war but losing the peace". In Farmanfarmaian, Roxane (ed.). War and Peace in Qajar Persia: Implications Past and Present. Routledge. ISBN 9781134103089.
  • Mikaberidze, Alexander (2011). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598843361.
  • Sicker, Martin (2001). The Islamic World in Decline: From the Treaty of Karlowitz to the Disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Praeger.
  • Sorkhabi, Rasoul (2017). Tectonic Evolution, Collision, and Seismicity of Southwest Asia: In Honor of Manuel Berberian's Forty-Five Years of Research Contributions. Boulder, Colorado: Geological Society of America. ISBN 9780813725253.
  • Tucker, Spencer C., ed. (2010). A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle. Vol. III. ABC-CLIO.
  • Ward, Steven R. (2009). Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces. Georgetown University Press.