Turhan Hatice

Country

Turkey

Known for

Valide Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Dates

Hijri 1037-1094 (AH); Common Era 1628-1683 (CE)

Turhan Hatice

Biography

Turhan Hatice was a favorite concubine of the Sultan Ibrahim I who became the mother of his heir, Mehmed IV. During the reign of her young son, Turhan had a prominent role and was known as a patroness of building. Most likely given to Ibrahim by his mother Kösem Sultan as a concubine, she soon became a favorite of Ibrahim, delivering to him Mehmed, his son and heir. However, Ibrahim was regarded as mentally unstable and in the eighth year of his reign, he was deposed and strangled, leaving Mehmed as sultan. Kösem Sultan, his grandmother, acted as Mehmed’s regent and while the title of valide sultan or queen mother should have gone to Turhan, Kösem usurped that position as well. However, Kösem had incorrectly gauged Turhan’s ambition and a struggle for ascendancy ensued between the two women, with Turhan supported by the head eunuch and vizier and Kösem by the Janissaries. While there is no direct evidence to implicate Turhan in the murder of Kösem, she was murdered and Turhan became valide sultan and regent. Inexperienced, Turhan began to rely heavily in political matters on the vizier and instead focused her energies on royal patronage and expansive building projects. Her most impressive accomplishment was the Yeni Valide Mosque, which was the first imperial mosque built by a woman. Its complex included a mosque, school, public fountains, market, and a tomb. She also constructed a mosque to Islamize an important area of Istanbul and built two fortresses to defend the Dardanelles.

Sources

Peirce, L. (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Thys-Senocak, L. (2006). Ottoman Women Builders. Aldershot: Ashgate.