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The Most Famous


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This page contains a list of the greatest Turkish Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,577 Politicians, 479 of which were born in Turkey. This makes Turkey the birth place of the 8th most number of Politicians behind Russia and Spain.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Turkish Politicians of all time. This list of famous Turkish Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Turkish Politicians.

Photo of Suleiman the Magnificent

1. Suleiman the Magnificent (1494 - 1566)

With an HPI of 88.38, Suleiman the Magnificent is the most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 110 different languages on wikipedia.

Suleiman I (Ottoman Turkish: سليمان اول, romanized: Süleyman-ı Evvel; Turkish: I. Süleyman; 6 November 1494 – 6 September 1566), commonly known as Suleiman the Magnificent in the West and Suleiman the Lawgiver (Ottoman Turkish: قانونى سلطان سليمان, romanized: Ḳānūnī Sulṭān Süleymān) in his realm, was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 until his death in 1566.: 541–45  Under his administration, the Ottoman Empire ruled over at least 25 million people. Suleiman succeeded his father, Selim I, as sultan on 30 September 1520 and began his reign with campaigns against the Christian powers in central Europe and the Mediterranean. Belgrade fell to him in 1521 and the island of Rhodes in 1522–23. At Mohács, in August 1526, Suleiman broke the military strength of Hungary. Suleiman became a prominent monarch of 16th-century Europe, presiding over the apex of the Ottoman Empire's economic, military and political power. Suleiman personally led Ottoman armies in conquering the Christian strongholds of Belgrade and Rhodes as well as most of Hungary before his conquests were checked at the siege of Vienna in 1529. He annexed much of the Middle East in his conflict with the Safavids and large areas of North Africa as far west as Algeria. Under his rule, the Ottoman fleet dominated the seas from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and through the Persian Gulf.: 61 At the helm of an expanding empire, Suleiman personally instituted major judicial changes relating to society, education, taxation and criminal law. His reforms, carried out in conjunction with the empire's chief judicial official Ebussuud Efendi, harmonized the relationship between the two forms of Ottoman law: sultanic (Kanun) and religious (Sharia). He was a distinguished poet and goldsmith; he also became a great patron of culture, overseeing the "Golden" age of the Ottoman Empire in its artistic, literary and architectural development.Breaking with Ottoman tradition, Suleiman married Hürrem Sultan, a woman from his harem, an Orthodox Christian of Ruthenian origin who converted to Islam, and who became famous in the West by the name Roxelana, due to her red hair. Their son, Selim II, succeeded Suleiman following his death in 1566 after 46 years of rule. Suleiman's other potential heirs, Mehmed and Mustafa, had died; Mehmed had died in 1543 from smallpox, and Mustafa had been strangled to death in 1553 at the sultan's order. His other son Bayezid was executed in 1561 on Suleiman's orders, along with Bayezid's four sons, after a rebellion. Although scholars typically regarded the period after his death to be one of crisis and adaptation rather than simple decline, the end of Suleiman's reign was a watershed in Ottoman history. In the decades after Suleiman, the empire began to experience significant political, institutional, and economic changes, a phenomenon often referred to as the Transformation of the Ottoman Empire.: 11 

Photo of Osman I

2. Osman I (1254 - 1327)

With an HPI of 85.24, Osman I is the 2nd most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 89 different languages.

Osman I or Osman Ghazi (Ottoman Turkish: عثمان غازى, romanized: ʿOsmān Ġāzī; Turkish: I. Osman or Osman Gazi; died 1323/4), sometimes transliterated archaically as Othman, was the founder of the Ottoman Empire (first known as the Ottoman Beylik or Emirate). While initially a small Turkoman principality during Osman's lifetime, his descendants transformed into a world empire in the centuries after his death. It existed until shortly after the end of World War I. Owing to the scarcity of historical sources dating from his lifetime, very little factual information about Osman has survived. Not a single written source survives from Osman's reign, and the Ottomans did not record the history of Osman's life until the fifteenth century, more than a hundred years after his death. Because of this, historians find it very challenging to differentiate between fact and myth in the many stories told about him. One historian has even gone so far as to declare it impossible, describing the period of Osman's life as a "black hole".According to later Ottoman tradition, Osman's ancestors were descendants of the Kayı tribe of Oghuz Turks. However, many scholars of the early Ottomans regard it as a later fabrication meant to reinforce dynastic legitimacy.The Ottoman principality was one of many Anatolian beyliks that emerged in the second half of the thirteenth century. Situated in the region of Bithynia in the north of Asia Minor, Osman's principality found itself particularly well placed to launch attacks on the vulnerable Byzantine Empire, which his descendants would eventually go on to conquer.

Photo of Selim II

3. Selim II (1524 - 1574)

With an HPI of 84.70, Selim II is the 3rd most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 69 different languages.

Selim II (Ottoman Turkish: سليم ثانى Selīm-i sānī, Turkish: II. Selim; 28 May 1524 – 15 December 1574), also known as Selim the Blond (Turkish: Sarı Selim) or Selim the Drunk (Turkish: Sarhoş Selim), was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1566 until his death in 1574. He was a son of Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Hurrem Sultan. Selim had been an unlikely candidate for the throne until his brother Mehmed died of smallpox, his half-brother Mustafa was strangled to death by the order of his father, his brother Cihangir succumbed to chronic health issues, and his brother Bayezid was killed on the order of his father after a rebellion against Selim. Selim died on 15 December 1574 and was buried in Hagia Sophia.

Photo of Ahmed I

4. Ahmed I (1590 - 1617)

With an HPI of 83.59, Ahmed I is the 4th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 69 different languages.

Ahmed I (Ottoman Turkish: احمد اول Aḥmed-i evvel; Turkish: I. Ahmed; 18 April 1590 – 22 November 1617) was sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1603 until his death in 1617. Ahmed's reign is noteworthy for marking the first breach in the Ottoman tradition of royal fratricide; henceforth, Ottoman rulers would no longer systematically execute their brothers upon accession to the throne. He is also well known for his construction of the Blue Mosque, one of the most famous mosques in Turkey.

Photo of Mehmed the Conqueror

5. Mehmed the Conqueror (1432 - 1481)

With an HPI of 83.37, Mehmed the Conqueror is the 5th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 96 different languages.

Mehmed II (Ottoman Turkish: محمد ثانى, romanized: Meḥmed-i s̱ānī; Turkish: II. Mehmed, pronounced [icinˈdʒi ˈmehmed]; 30 March 1432 – 3 May 1481), commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror (Ottoman Turkish: ابو الفتح, romanized: Ebū'l-fetḥ, lit. 'the Father of Conquest'; Turkish: Fâtih Sultan Mehmed), was an Ottoman sultan who ruled from August 1444 to September 1446, and then later from February 1451 to May 1481. In Mehmed II's first reign, he defeated the crusade led by John Hunyadi after the Hungarian incursions into his country broke the conditions of the truce Peace of Szeged. When Mehmed II ascended the throne again in 1451, he strengthened the Ottoman navy and made preparations to attack Constantinople. At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople and brought an end to the Byzantine Empire. After the conquest Mehmed claimed the title Caesar of the Roman Empire (Ottoman Turkish: قیصر‎ روم, romanized: Qayser-i Rûm), based on the fact that Constantinople had been the seat and capital of the surviving Eastern Roman Empire since its consecration in 330 AD by Emperor Constantine I. The claim was only recognized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Nonetheless, Mehmed II viewed the Ottoman state as a continuation of the Roman Empire for the remainder of his life, seeing himself as "continuing" the Empire rather than "replacing" it. Mehmed continued his conquests in Anatolia with its reunification and in Southeast Europe as far west as Bosnia. At home he made many political and social reforms, encouraged the arts and sciences, and by the end of his reign, his rebuilding program had changed Constantinople into a thriving imperial capital. He is considered a hero in modern-day Turkey and parts of the wider Muslim world. Among other things, Istanbul's Fatih district, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Fatih Mosque are named after him.

Photo of Murad III

6. Murad III (1546 - 1595)

With an HPI of 82.69, Murad III is the 6th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 70 different languages.

Murad III (Ottoman Turkish: مراد ثالث, romanized: Murād-i sālis; Turkish: III. Murad; 4 July 1546 – 16 January 1595) was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1574 until his death in 1595. His rule saw battles with the Habsburgs and exhausting wars with the Safavids. The long-independent Morocco was at a time made a vassal of the empire but they would regain independence in 1582. His reign also saw the empire's expanding influence on the eastern coast of Africa. However, the empire would be beset by increasing corruption and inflation from the New World which led to unrest among the Janissary and commoners. Relations with Elizabethan England were cemented during his reign as both had a common enemy in the Spanish. He was a great patron in the arts where he commissioned the Siyer-i-Nebi and other illustrated manuscripts.

Photo of Selim I

7. Selim I (1470 - 1520)

With an HPI of 82.39, Selim I is the 7th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 75 different languages.

Selim I (Ottoman Turkish: سليم الأول; Turkish: I. Selim; 10 October 1470 – 22 September 1520), known as Selim the Grim or Selim the Resolute (Turkish: Yavuz Sultan Selim), was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to 1520. Despite lasting only eight years, his reign is notable for the enormous expansion of the Empire, particularly his conquest between 1516 and 1517 of the entire Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, which included all of the Levant, Hejaz, Tihamah and Egypt itself. On the eve of his death in 1520, the Ottoman Empire spanned about 3.4 million km2 (1.3 million sq mi), having grown by seventy percent during Selim's reign. Selim's conquest of the Middle Eastern heartlands of the Muslim world, and particularly his assumption of the role of guardian of the pilgrimage routes to Mecca and Medina, established the Ottoman Empire as the pre-eminent Muslim state. His conquests dramatically shifted the empire's geographical and cultural center of gravity away from the Balkans and toward the Middle East. By the eighteenth century, Selim's conquest of the Mamluk Sultanate had come to be romanticized as the moment when the Ottomans seized leadership over the rest of the Muslim world, and consequently Selim is popularly remembered as the first legitimate Ottoman Caliph, although stories of an official transfer of the caliphal office from the Mamluk Abbasid dynasty to the Ottomans were a later invention.

Photo of Murad IV

8. Murad IV (1612 - 1640)

With an HPI of 81.60, Murad IV is the 8th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 69 different languages.

Murad IV (Ottoman Turkish: مراد رابع, Murād-ı Rābiʿ; Turkish: IV. Murad, 27 July 1612 – 8 February 1640) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1623 to 1640, known both for restoring the authority of the state and for the brutality of his methods. Murad IV was born in Constantinople, the son of Sultan Ahmed I (r. 1603–17) and Kösem Sultan. He was brought to power by a palace conspiracy when he was just 11 years old, and he succeeded his uncle Mustafa I (r. 1617–18, 1622–23). Until he assumed absolute power on 18 May 1632, the empire was ruled by his mother, Kösem Sultan, as nāʾib-i salṭanat (regent). His reign is most notable for the Ottoman–Safavid War, of which the outcome would partition the Caucasus between the two Imperial powers for around two centuries, while it also roughly laid the foundation for the current Turkey–Iran–Iraq borders.

Photo of Mehmed III

9. Mehmed III (1566 - 1603)

With an HPI of 81.18, Mehmed III is the 9th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 67 different languages.

Mehmed III (Ottoman Turkish: محمد ثالث, Meḥmed-i sālis; Turkish: III. Mehmed; 26 May 1566 – 22 December 1603) was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1595 until his death in 1603. Mehmed was known for ordering the execution of his brothers and leading the army in the Long Turkish war, during which the Ottoman army was victorious at the decisive Battle of Keresztes. This victory was however undermined by some military losses such as in Gyor and Nikopol. He also ordered the successful quelling of the Jelali rebellions. The sultan also communicated with the court of Elizabeth I on the grounds of stronger commercial relations and in the hopes of England to ally with the Ottomans against the Spanish.

Photo of Mustafa I

10. Mustafa I (1591 - 1639)

With an HPI of 80.60, Mustafa I is the 10th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 68 different languages.

Mustafa I (; Ottoman Turkish: مصطفى اول‎; c. 1600, Constantinople – 20 January 1639, Constantinople), called Mustafa the Saint (Veli Mustafa) during his second reign, and often called Mustafa the Mad (Deli Mustafa) by historians, was the son of Sultan Mehmed III and Halime Sultan. He was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 22 November 1617 to 26 February 1618, and from 20 May 1622 to 10 September 1623.

Pantheon has 479 people classified as politicians born between 1800 BC and 1993. Of these 479, 36 (7.52%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Abdullah Gül, and Ahmet Necdet Sezer. The most famous deceased politicians include Suleiman the Magnificent, Osman I, and Selim II. As of April 2022, 53 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including John VI Kantakouzenos, Ayşe Sultan, and Şehzade Abdullah.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2022)

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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.