Historical background

The Bayandurlu or Akkoyunlu tribal union was consistent from Pornak, Afshar, Bayath, Qajar, Dughar, Hajili and other tribes. Qara Yulugh Osman (1394-1434), the representative of Akkoyunlu dynasty, established Diyarbakr Beylik (principality) and coined money on behalf of his name after the Ankara battle in 1402. Hasan Bey, who came to throne in 1453, uniting all tribes round him in short time and magnifying his military power, launched the struggle against Jahanshah. After the victory over Jahanshah in the Mush battle in 1467, he broke his son Hasan Ali’s resistance and captured Tabriz in 1468. Therefore, a new dynasty, the Bayandurlu, came to power. During the reign of this dynasty, territories such as Southern Azerbaijan, Arab of Iraq, Iraq of Ajam and Karabakh up to the Kura River were included in the state. While coming to the throne in 1468, in Tabriz he wrote a letter to Sultan Mehmet II: “Right now the whole Azerbaijan, Iraq, Persia, Kirman, Shiraz, Iraq of Arab are under our control.” In certain time even Eastern Georgia, including Tbilisi was under control of the state. Tabriz maintained the status of capital city. The rule of Hasan Padishah, who was a brave commander and a notable politician, was welcomes by population. Hasan Padishah used all his political, military and diplomatic abilities to establish a union against the Timurids with Shirvanshah

Farrukh Yashar and the ruler of Ardabil Sheikh Heydar. In 1469, Abu Said’s army was defeated in the Mahmudabad battle on the Mughan plain and after that, one of the main threats to the Azerbaijani statehood was eliminated. He wrote to Mehmet II in this regard, “A delegation visited us, from the great shah, Sultan Hussein Baykara. They mint coin and sermon after our name and thus showed their obedience”. Sultan Hasan sent large military forces to Khorasan and overthrew Hussein Baykara, the ruler of Heart, charging vassal Yadighar Muhammad, representative of the Timurid dynasty.

Sultan Hasan was trying to break resistance of military-nomadic nobles, in order to strengthen the central authority and to guarantee the country’s economic development. One of the main steps in the financial system of the state was enactment of the law “Kanunname” (book of law). The goal was to regulate the taxation system and to eliminate the arbitrariness of the officials. Even in the 16th century, during the reign of Safavids “Kanunname” was still in use with only some minor changes, in accordance with which, all main taxes were specified. The tax tamgha, remained from the Mongol period and prevented development of trade and crafts, was reduced by half and the customs payment baj, collected from caravanserais, was clarified. Hasan Padishah spent huge sums on the development of

cities and regions. During his reign Tabriz, Sultaniyya and Shamakhi were the main trade centers. Annual revenue of Tabriz was 87500 tumens and Shamakhi had 11300 tumens of income. Hasan Padishah, mentioned as an equitable ruler in historical sources, was paying special attention to the development of science, education, and culture in Azerbaijan. During his reign, the library of Tabriz palace was enlarged and the Tabriz school of miniature was established.

The interest of these two Turkic countries was collided in a strong way because of control over the strategic regions and over the West-East trade route. Hasan Padishah carried out an active foreign policy. Due to their main interests, the European countries, which were the enemies of the Ottomans, considered Hasan Padishah as a natural ally. The main reason for deterioration of the relations with the Ottomans had been the contradictions over Trabzon, which started when Sultan Hassan was the ruler of the Diyarbakr. The Greek Empire of Trabzon (Trebizond), which was situated on southern coast of the Black Sea, in addition being the main access road to the Black Sea for the Azerbaijan merchants, it was also the military-strategic ally of the Azerbaijan rulers against the Ottomans. At the same time, Hasan Padishah was married to the Trabzon emperor’s sister Theodora (Daspina Khatun). The

Ottomans were defeated the Goyluhisar battle in the 1461 between Hasan Bayandurlu and Mehmet II for Trabzon. As an ambassador, Sultan Hasan’s mother Sara Khatun s had achieved a decision to stop war in the negotiations with the Ottoman and in 1461, the parties signed the treaty of Yassichaman. To Sara Khatun’s question “What is Trabzon for Sultan that he starts a campaign with the great army against it? Why do you have to suffer for this?” Mehmet II Fateh’s answer was “The sword in our hand is the sword of Islam. Our aim is not to conquer a tower, but to make this place is a homeland for Muslims. No matter how much you suffer for.”

Mehmet II completed the capture of the Trabzon Empire on October 26, 1461. The Sultan presented the most valuable things in Trabzon treasury to Sara Khatun. With the fall of Trabzon Hasan Padishah lost the only access to the Black Sea and a military-strategic ally. At the same time the tensions with the Ottoman worsened even more.

In 1468 coming to power in Tabriz, Sultan Hasan Bayandurlu’s European policy mainly focused on the search for the allies against the Ottomans and simultaneously to buy modern firearms and artillery. As a result of extensive diplomatic activity, a military alliance and combined war plan against the Ottoman had been

completed between the Bayandurids and Venetian Republic, the Vatican, the kingdom of Neapolis, Hungary and Cyprus. According to their plan, Sultan Hasan’s army should have to land in the Mediterranean Seashore and after receiving the firearms and artillery sent from Europe, the allies should have to start a joint march to Istanbul. In spring of 1472 according to this plan, Sultan Hasan launched his military campaign against the Ottomans. Defeating the Ottomans near the Caesarea he reached the Mediterranean Sea shore, but his European allies didn’t arrive there. Being defeated in the Beyshehir battle Sultan Hasan had to return back. His plan to receive firearms from European countries and to join the allies in the Mediterranean Sea shore was failed because of the betrayal of the Christian states. The Venice Republic, which concluded a military alliance with Sultan Hasan against the Ottomans in 1472, instead of support of its ally, was secretly negotiating in the Ottoman palace in order to gain the trade preferences in overland route, passing through Egypt and Syria. Sultan Hasan launched a new war with the Ottoman in the January of 1473. The Malatya battle in August 1, 1473 ended in victory for Hasan Padishah; however, in August 11 in the Terjan (Otluqbeli) battle he suffered a heavy defeat by the Ottomans. The main reasons for defeat during the war in 1472-1473 were the

availability of powerful artillery and firearms in the Ottoman army, untrustworthiness of the European allies, and non-use of the opposed forces against the Ottomans in Egypt and Syria. After this Sultan Hasan turned a deaf ear to European countries suggestions to scuffle together against Ottomans, and didn’t let European envoys stay in his palace for long term and do definite “hazardous” against the Ottomans. He already understood the policy of the European diplomacy to confront two Turkish countries and weaken both of them.

In 1474, Hasan Padishah had to use the large military troops to suppress the revolt in Shiraz, a manifestation of centrifugal tendencies, supported by the nomadic military nobility. His son Ughurlu Mohammad, the leader of the revolt, escaped by taking refuge in the Ottoman Palace and married to a daughter of Mehmet II.

Sultan Hasan maintained economical and diplomacy ties with the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Golden Horde. The Golden Horde was able to get a guarantee of its southern borders security, negotiating in the Tabriz palace. Sultan Hasan had preferred to be in good relationship with this Muslim and Turkic country and in 1475 he had rejected the proposal Ivan III, the Grand Duke of Moscow, to

conclude an alliance against the Golden Horde and had send a Russian envoy back.

After Sultan Hasan’s death in 1478, his son Sultan Yaqub came to power. The reign of Sultan Yaqub (1478-1490) was relatively stable in the country. Traditional friendship ties with the Shirvanshahs had reached a high level after the marriage with Farrukh Yasar’s daughter. However, the relations with the Sheiks of Ardabil, who were his relatives (Sheikh Cuneyd was married to Sultan Hasan’s sister and Juneyd’s son, Sheikh Heydar was married to his daughter), had worsened. Sultan Yagub had defeated Egypt and Syrian troops in 1480. After Yaqub’s death, the struggle for power and political contentions were strengthened in the Bayandurlu state. Yagub’s successor Sultan Baysungur (1490-1492) was defeated in the battle of Barda and the powerful nobles enthroned Sultan Hasan’s grandchild Rustam Mirza. He remains in the historical sources as the ruler of the Bayandurlu, who distributed a lot of soyurghals. His aim was to gain support of powerful nobles, however the nobles, who got soyurghal, gradually refused to obey central authority. In 1497, Sultan Ahmad, son of Ughurlu Mohammad from his marriage to daughter of Sultan Mehmet II, with the support of Ottomans dethroned Rustam Mirza. Ahmad Bayandurlu, known as Godak Ahmad, enforced many reforms during his short reign of 7 months. Firstly, he launched the process of annulment of hereditary soyurghals in order to avoid decentralization. His degree states: “Inheritance of soyurghals is canceled. Henceforth distribution of soyurghals prohibited.” He repealed about 20 illegal taxes, absent in the Sharia Law. With the fear for losing their positions, powerful military nobles dethroned this wise ruler, as result of mutiny in 1497. The consequence was deplorable. Internal political fights were strengthened. The territory of the state was divided between the Bayandurlu princes Alvand Mirza and Murad Mirza in 1499 (sometime it indicated in 1500).