Mustafa Chelebi – Facts, Information

Mustafa-chelebi is also Duzme Mustafa or Duzmeje Mustafa – the son of Sultan Bayazid I. In 1402, Mustafa participated with his father and brothers in the Battle of Ankara and disappeared after it. According to the man who appeared in 1415/16 under his name, he was for some time in captivity by Tamerlane, but after his death he was released. During the reign of Mehmed I and Murad II, with the support of Byzantium and Venice, Mustafa raised uprisings, trying to seize the Ottoman throne, was betrayed by the allies, captured and hanged. In official Ottoman historiography, he was presented as an impostor.


Origin and early years

H. Inaldzhik wrote that Mustafa’s date of birth is unknown, but D. Alderson called the year 1380. Ottoman historian Shukrullah called him the last of the six sons of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I. Mustafa’s mother was apparently a slave.

There is no information about the early years of his life. According to Sharaf ad-din Yazdi, in 1400, Mustafa was engaged to the daughter of Ahmed Jalair. According to the Ottoman historian Neshri, he was appointed as the sanjakbey father of the former beyliks Hamid and Teke. At the head of the troops of these sanjaks, he participated in the battle of Ankara on July 28, 1402. Bayazid, Mustafa’s father, was defeated and captured in this battle.

The fate of Mustafa after the Battle of Ankara

Mustafa’s fate is unknown. Timurid historiographers did not mention that Mustafa was captured by Tamerlane. Sharaf ad-Din Yazdi in Zafarnam wrote that after the capture of Bayezid, the Sultan told Tamerlane that during the battle he had two sons – Musa and Mustafa – and asked to find out what became of them. Musa was soon found, but there was no information about Mustafa. According to Ibn Arabshah, “Mustafa disappeared without a trace, because of him about 30 Mustafas were executed,” that is, the people of Tamerlane did not find Mustafa and did not take him prisoner.

Ottoman historians of the 15th century described the fate of this son of Bayezid in different ways, mainly indicating that he disappeared without a trace. Ashik-pasha-zadeh and Neshri wrote that Mustafa fell off his horse and disappeared without a trace. According to Shukrullah, he was captured together with his father, Mustafa disappeared, and no one ever saw him again. Enveri wrote that he was captured together with his father, but then Mustafa returned to Anatolia a few years later, possibly after the death of Tamerlane in February 1405.

Byzantine historians considered the claimant to be Bayezid’s son, while pointing out that Mehmed called him an impostor. Halkokondil wrote, “since they have no information that Mustafa is alive, Mehmed says that Mustafa is not Bayezid’s real son.” According to Duke, the Grand Vizier and Beylerbey of Rumelia Bayazid Pasha called the applicant an impostor. Only Sfranzi called him a deceiver.

D. Alderson wrote that Mustafa disappeared after the battle, he was not found among the captives, his body was not among those killed, he was not in any of their detachments that fled from the battlefield. I. Uzuncharshili believed that Enveri’s data on Mustafa’s stay in captivity, and then living in Nowhere are reliable. Today, all researchers agree that Mustafa is not “fake”.

The nickname Duzme (Tur. Düzme – false), which indicates that Mustafa was not Bayazid’s son, the 15th century historians Ashik Pasha-zade and Neshri began to mention in relation to the applicant, but they pointed out that the nickname was given to him by his rivals during the struggle for the throne. From them the nickname went and was widely spread among later Ottoman historians.

First uprising

In Ottoman sources, the events of the two uprisings are confused, the first uprising is not mentioned. After the battle of Ankara, Tamerlane restored all the beyliks, returning them to the members of the dynasties overthrown in the beiliks. He divided the rest of the Asiatic part of the Ottoman Empire into two parts and put the sons of Bayazid Isu-chelebi and Mehmed to rule in them. In Rumelia, Suleiman-chelebi proclaimed himself sultan. The period of the Ottoman interregnum began, when Isa, Suleiman, Mehmed and Musa shared the paternal inheritance. In 1413, Mehmed I won the power struggle.

In 1415, a man appeared in Rumelia who called himself Mustafa. He claimed that at the time when his brothers were fighting for power, he was in captivity in Samarkand. He suddenly appeared in Thessaloniki after his disappearance in the Battle of Ankara and did not talk about what happened to him. It is possible that Mustafa found refuge in one of the beyliks: according to Enveri in Nowhere among the Karamanids or according to Halkokondil in Isfendiyar-bey Jandarid in Kastamonu or Sinop, like his brother Musa Chelebi. According to Venetian sources, Mustafa was “in Asia” looking for a ship to sail to Europe, where he claimed to have many of his supporters. Raguzan sources reported that in mid-June 1415, Mustafa was in Trabzon. Venetian sources report that a galley from Trabzon arrived in the city in January 1415, with a “Turkish” agent who negotiated with the Byzantine emperor on behalf of Mustafa. By August 1415, he was already in Wallachia, where he received support from Mircea I. Civil strife among the Ottomans was beneficial to all their neighbors. Manuel II Palaeologus and the ruler of Wallachia Mircea I supported him, not really delving into the reliability of his history.

In Wallachia, Mustafa was joined by Juneyd Izmiroglu, the former sandjakbey of Nikopol. Given Nicopolis’s proximity to Wallachia, Mehmed sent two trusted servants to kill him, but Junayd managed to cross the Danube two days before their arrival. He became the most active supporter of the challenger, and Mustafa appointed Juneyd as his vizier. With soldiers provided by the ruler of Wallachia Mircea I, Mustafa invaded Thrace and tried to persuade the local Ottoman troops to revolt. Having failed in this, he took refuge in Constantinople. In the spring of 1416, Mustafa went to the Byzantine city of Thessaloniki and tried to enlist the support of the Uj-beis of Macedonia. Although he managed to capture Serres, he still lacked supporters, and in the fall Mehmed defeated him in battle. Mustafa and Juneyd fled back to Thessaloniki, where the local governor, Dimitri Laskaris Leontaris, took them under his protection. Mehmed laid siege to the city until Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus agreed to hold them as hostages for as long as Mehmed lived, in exchange for an annual payment of 300,000 acce. According to Duque, Mustafa was sent to the island of Lemnos, and Juneyd was placed at the Pammakaristos monastery in Constantinople.

Second rebellion (1421-1422)

In 1421, Mehmed I died, and he was succeeded by the 17-year-old son Murad II. According to the will of Mehmed, his two younger sons, Yusuf and Mahmud, had to be sent to the Byzantine emperor as hostages, but the vizier of Mehmed Amasyala Bayazid Pasha refused to hand them over. As a result, the Byzantines decided to use Mustafa and Juneyd and freed them from captivity, seeing in this an opportunity to return the lost territories in northern Greece, on the Black Sea coast and in Gallipoli. On August 15, 1421, after Mustafa took solemn oaths that he would obey the emperor, the Byzantine fleet led by Demetrius Leontaris brought them to Gallipoli. The troops of Mustafa and Leontaris landed in front of the city, where the garrison and local militia gathered. Murad’s people “could not resist Juneyd, because this man was courageous and more experienced in war than any Turk of his time,” they were defeated and forced to hide behind the city walls. Mustafa turned to the garrison, persuaded many of them to surrender, and the next morning occupied Gallipoli. From there he began his campaign against Edirne, and Leontaris laid siege to the citadel of Gallipoli, in which the detachment under the command of Shah Melik-bey continued to resist.

Unlike the previous rebellion of Mustafa, now many of the Uj-beis of Rumelia, including Turakhan-bey, the sons of Evrenos and the Gumluoglu family, joined him, since they saw Mustafa as a more reliable ruler than the inexperienced Murad. The challenger quickly extended his control over most of Macedonia, including the cities of Yannitsa, Serres, Vardar. The first coins minted by Mustafa date back to this time. Murad sent Bayazid Pasha with an army from Anatolia to confront Mustafa. The two armies met in Sazlidere, not far from Edirne, but Bayazid’s troops began to go over to Mustafa’s side en masse when the challenger showed them the scars allegedly received in the battle of Ankara. Bayazid Pasha surrendered and, as Duka wrote, was executed at the insistence of Juneyd. Bayazid Pasha’s brother, Hamzu-bey, Juneyd “took pity on him because of his youth.”

Mustafa entered Edirne in triumph. When the defenders of the Gallipoli citadel learned of this, they also decided to surrender. Leontares wanted to occupy the city as an ally of Mustafa, but according to Duca, when Leontares was preparing to enter Gallipoli, Juneyd and Mustafa arrived. They informed him that their agreement was invalid because they could not allow their people to capitulate to the infidels. Leontaris protested, but he had no choice but to gather his men and travel to Constantinople, while Mustafa fortified himself in the citadel, organized his fleet and fortified the harbor defenses.

Then the emperor decided to support Murad and sent envoys to him with an offer of assistance on certain conditions: the Byzantine ships would transport the Ottoman armies to Europe in exchange for Gallipoli, he would hand over the two younger brothers of the Sultan as hostages to the emperor (just as they did Mehmed I and Suleiman elebi). Murad refused to accept Manuel’s terms, but the young sultan was helped by the Genoese podestà of New Phocaea, Giovanni Adorno, who offered ships to ferry the Ottoman army in response to writing off the debt for the lease of alum mines. Fokey also provided the Sultan with 2,000 soldiers. A letter to Murad from Adorno was written by Adorno’s personal secretary, the historian Duca, who left a detailed account of these events. Mustafa was disturbed by the news that Murad had received a fleet to ferry to Rumelia, and Juneyd convinced the challenger that they needed to get ahead of Murad and cross over to Anatolia themselves earlier. According to Duki, by this time Mustafa began to spend time in feasts and debauchery, and Juneyd hurried him, because he was afraid that Mustafa was sinking more and more every day and was losing the chance to defeat Murad. If this happened while Junade was in Europe, he risked being captured by the Byzantines – not a very attractive prospect after the betrayal at Gallipoli. Therefore Juneyd strove to return to Anatolia and his own principality as soon as possible.

On 26 Muharrem, 825 AH (January 20, 1422), the army of False Mustafa (about 12,000 cavalry and 5,000 infantry) crossed over to Anatolia. Murad with his troops arrived from Bursa to meet with the army of the challenger; blocking Mustafa’s advance, his men broke the bridge over the Nilufer River. Both armies met at Lopadion (Ulubad). According to Ashik Pasha-zadeh, before the battle, Murad sent his people to all the beys who supported Mustafa. Each of them was promised a generous reward for apostasy, for example, Juneyd Murad II promised to return Aydin. Duka gave a detailed description of how Murad’s advisers used Juneyd’s brother Hamza, who was a friend of Murad’s, to negotiate: Hamza was persuaded to meet with Juneyd and persuade him to leave his ally. Through Hamza, Juneydu was promised “to give Aydin into the hereditary possession on condition that one of his sons serves the Sultan.” The Viziris (Ibrahim Pasha, Haji Iwaz Pasha, Timurtashoglu Umur, Oruj and Ali Bey) advised Murad to release Mehmed Mikhaloglu, who was Rumeli’s beylerbei from Musa elebi and was imprisoned in Tokat since 1416 for his connection with Sheikh Bed. Mikhaloglu was brought from Tokat, promised the title of Beylerbey and released, after which he wrote letters in which he urged the leaders of the akinja to recognize Murad and guaranteed that they would be forgiven. As a result, Mustafa was abandoned by both the Rumeli Ujbey and Juneyd and was forced to flee back to Rumelia.

Murad turned to Adorno, who kept his promise, arrived with 7 galleys and on January 15, 1422 ferried the sultan with his army to the other side of the Dardanelles. According to Duka, the applicant tried to hide and escape to Wallachia, but was recognized and captured. Mustafa tried to hide and escape to Wallachia, but was recognized by Murad’s agents and captured. Ottoman historian Ruhi Š§elebi reported that Mikhaloglu Mehmed-bey arrested Mustafa in Chamurlu and soon the applicant was publicly hanged by Murad’s orders on the walls of Edirne or in the city square, like an ordinary criminal. Before his execution, Mustafa asked Murad to meet, promising to tell something, but Murad did not react. Duka noted that such an execution was chosen to present Mustafa as an impostor rather than a member of the dynasty. According to Ottoman historian Behishti, the body hung until it collapsed. It is unknown what happened to him, except that he was not exactly buried with honors. The small number of surviving coins from Mustafa’s minting almost certainly indicates that they were destroyed immediately after the execution. After the execution, Mustafa’s head (according to Ruha Chelebi) was sent to Murad.

There is a version that he managed to escape to Wallachia, from there to Kaffa, and then to Thessaloniki, where he was until the capture of the city by Murad in 1430. At least in 1425, a man calling himself Mustafa began raiding Murad’s troops from the city, but after he and the Venetian captain were nearly captured during one of these actions, on September 3, the Grand Council issued instructions to stop these raids and keep the city gates closed. And on May 11 this Mustafa appeared before the Grand Council and received 150 ducats for his services.