Witnessing the Relationship Between Sultan Bayezid II and Shah Ismail Safavid: Two Letters as Primary Sources
Keywords:Safevid Empire, Shah Ismail, Ottoman Empire, Bayezid II, Letter
Diplomatic correspondence is a primary source of historical documents that sheds light on the nature of relations between states, the agenda of states at the time of writing, the socio-cultural atmosphere of the period, and the background of events that have occurred or will occur. In terms of Safavid historiography, the most important letters that have survived from the period when the state ruled for approximately two and a half centuries are those that reflect the founding period of the state and the letters from the era of Shah Ismail, the first sultan of the state. What makes these correspondences important is that they serve as documents that contribute to the emergence of a state that will rule for many years. Furthermore, the fact that Shah Ismail was not only a political figure as the ruler of the state but also a spiritual leader of a large Kızılbaş community enhances the importance of these letters. This situation transforms the letters from the era of Shah Ismail into documents that reflect not only political correspondence but also the social and religious characteristics of the period.
Since its formation and rapid rise to a powerful position on the eastern borders of the Ottoman Empire, the Safavid State, whose main constituents have generally been Turkmen people, has had numerous diplomatic letters with the Ottoman Empire, which have survived to the present day. Among these correspondences, the ones that are still maintain their importance are the ones that took place between Shah Ismail and the Ottoman sultans of that time. The first of these is the letters between Shah Ismail and Sultan Bayezid II, followed by the well-known letters between Shah Ismail and Sultan Selim I. However, this study focuses on the first two letters that took place between Shah Ismail Safavi and Sultan Bayezid II. The first letter is written by Shah Ismail to Bayezid II, requesting ease of access for the followers and disciples of the Erdebil Tekke during their visits. The second letter is the response given by Bayezid II to this request. In the letters, it is noteworthy that Shah Ismail refers to the large number of Erdebil followers who have been present in the Anatolian region for a long time, and Bayezid, with a realistic perspective, mentions that he will not hinder them from returning to the region where they live to maintain order.
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