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Bayezid II (nick-named Hüdavendigâr - from Khodāvandgār - "the God-like One") (1450 – May 26, 1512) (Ottoman Turkish: بايزيد ثانى Bāyezīd-i sānī, Turkish:II.Bayezid or II.Beyazıt) was the oldest son and successor of Mehmed II, ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512. During his reign, Bayezid II consolidated the Ottoman Empire and thwarted a Safavid rebellion soon before abdicating his throne to his son, Selim I.

Early life

Bayezid II was born in Dimetoka Palace (now Didymoteichomarker) in Thrace as the son of Mehmed II (1451–81) and Valide Sultan Amina Gul-Bahar or Gulbahar Khatun, a Greek Orthodox of Noble birth from the village of Douvera, Trabzonmarker, who died in 1492. Bayezid II married Ayşe Hatun, a convert of Greek ethnicity, who was the mother of Selim I.

Fight for the throne

Bayezid II's overriding concern was the quarrel with his brother Cem, who claimed the throne and sought military backing from the Knights of St. John in Rhodesmarker. Eventually the Knights handed Cem over to Pope Innocent VIII (1484-1492). The Pope thought of using Cem as a tool to drive the Turks out of Europe, but as the Papal Crusade failed to come to fruition, Cem was left to languish and die in a Neapolitan prison.

Reign

Bayezid II ascended the Ottoman throne in 1481. Like his father, Bayezid II was a patron of western and eastern culture and unlike many other Sultans, worked hard to ensure a smooth running of domestic politics, which earned him the epithet of "the Just". Throughout his reign, Bayezid II engaged in numerous campaigns to conquer the Venetianmarker-held despotate of Morea, accurately defining this region as the key to future Ottoman naval power in the Eastern Mediterraneanmarker. The last of these wars ended in 1501 with Bayezid II in control of the main citadels of Mistramarker and Monemvasiamarker. Bayezid is also responsible for certain self-inflicted intellectual wounds in Islamic civilization, such as the outlawing of all printing in Arabic and Turkic, a ban lasting in the Islamic world until 1729.

Rebellions in the east, such as that of the Kizil Bash, plagued much of Bayezid II's reign and were often backed by the Shah of Persiamarker, Ismail, who was eager to promote Shi'ism to undermine the authority of the Ottoman state. Ottoman authority in Anatoliamarker was indeed seriously threatened during this period, and at one point Bayezid II's grand vizier, Ali Pasha, was killed in battle against rebels.

Jewish emigration

Bayezid II also sent out the Ottoman navy under the command of Kemal Reis to Spain in 1492 in order to save the Arabs and Sephardic Jews who were expelled by the Spanish Inquisition. He sent out proclamations throughout the empire that the refugees were to be welcomed. He granted the refugees the permission to settle in the Ottoman Empire and become Ottoman citizens. He ridiculed the conduct of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in expelling a class of people so useful to their subjects. "You venture to call Ferdinand a wise ruler," he said to his courtiers — "he who has impoverished his own country and enriched mine!" Bajazet addressed a firman to all the governors of his European provinces, ordering them not only to refrain from repelling the Spanish refugees, but to give them a friendly and welcome reception. He threatened with death all those who treated the Jews harshly or refused them admission into the empire. Moses Capsali, who probably helped to arouse the sultan's friendship for the Jews, was most energetic in his assistance to the exiles. He made a tour of the communities, and was instrumental in imposing a tax upon the rich, to ransom the Jewish victims of the persecutions then prevalent.

The Arabs and Jews of Spain contributed much to the rising power of the Ottoman Empire by introducing new ideas, methods and craftsmanship. The first printing press in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) was established by the Sephardic Jews in 1493 (as early as 1483 there had been a Jewish printing establishment in Istanbul), only 3 years after the Germanmarker Johannes Gutenberg invented the machine. It is reported that under Bajazet's reign, Jews enjoyed a period of and cultural flourishing, with the presence of such scholars as the Talmudist and scientist Mordecai Comtino; astronomer and poet Solomon ben Elijah Sharbiṭ ha-Zahab; Shabbethai ben Malkiel Cohen, and the liturgical poet Menahem Tamar.

Succession

On September 14, 1509, Istanbulmarker was devastated by an earthquake. Bayezid II's final years saw a succession battle between his sons Selim I and Ahmed. Ahmed, the older of the two claimants, had won a battle against the Karaman Turks and their Safavid allies in Asia Minormarker and now marched on Istanbul to exploit his triumph. Fearing for his safety, Selim staged a revolt in Thrace but was defeated by Bayezid and forced to flee back to Crimeamarker. Bayezid II developed fears that Ahmed might in turn kill him to gain the throne and refused to allow his son to enter Istanbul.

Selim returned from Crimea and, with support from the Janissaries, defeated and killed Ahmed. Bayezid II then abdicated the throne to Selim on April 25, 1512. He departed for retirement in his native Demotika, but he died on May 26, 1512 at Chekmece before reaching his destination, and only a month after his abdication. He was buried next to Bayezid Mosque in Istanbulmarker.

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