The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Turkey

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This page contains a list of the greatest Turkish Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,710 Politicians, 422 of which were born in Turkey. This makes Turkey the birth place of the 7th most number of Politicians behind United Kingdom 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 90.22, Suleiman the Magnificent is the most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 111 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. Under his administration, the Ottoman caliphate ruled over at least 25 million people. Suleiman succeeded his father as sultan in 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.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; the former had died from smallpox, and the latter had been strangled to death 13 years earlier 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 prefer "crisis and adaptation" rather than decline after his death, 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.

Photo of Selim II

2. Selim II (1524 - 1574)

With an HPI of 86.45, Selim II is the 2nd most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 68 different languages.

Selim II (Ottoman Turkish: سليم ثانى Selīm-i sānī, Turkish: II.Selim; 30 May 1524 – 15 December 1574), also known as Sarı Selim ("Selim the Blond") or Sarhoş Selim ("Selim the Drunk"), 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 died of grief at the news of this latter execution, 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 Mehmed the Conqueror

3. Mehmed the Conqueror (1432 - 1481)

With an HPI of 86.30, Mehmed the Conqueror is the 3rd most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 95 different languages.

Mehmed II (Ottoman Turkish: محمد ثانى‎, romanized: Meḥmed-i sānī; Turkish: II. Mehmet, pronounced [icinˈdʒi ˈmehmet]; 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: Fatih Sultan Mehmet), 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 (modern-day Istanbul) and brought an end to the Byzantine Empire. After the conquest Mehmed claimed the title "Caesar" of the Roman Empire (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. This assertion was eventually abandoned by his successors. 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.

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4. Osman I (1254 - 1327)

With an HPI of 86.19, Osman I is the 4th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 83 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 leader of the Ottoman Turks and the founder of the Ottoman dynasty. The dynasty bearing his name later established and ruled the Ottoman Empire (first known as the Ottoman Beylik or Emirate). This state, while only a small Turkmen principality during Osman's lifetime, 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. 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. 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 I

5. Selim I (1470 - 1520)

With an HPI of 86.18, Selim I is the 5th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 73 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 576,900 sq mi (1,494,000 km2), 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 most prestigious of all Muslim states. 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 Ahmed I

6. Ahmed I (1590 - 1617)

With an HPI of 85.76, Ahmed I is the 6th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 67 different languages.

Ahmed I (Ottoman Turkish: احمد اول‎ Aḥmed-i evvel; Turkish: I. Ahmed; April 1590 – 22 November 1617) was the 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 Murad IV

7. Murad IV (1612 - 1640)

With an HPI of 85.48, Murad IV is the 7th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 69 different languages.

Murad IV (Ottoman Turkish: مراد رابع‎, Murād-ı Rābiʿ; Turkish: IV. Murat, 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 in 1623, and he succeeded his uncle Mustafa I (r. 1617–18, 1622–23). He was only 11 when he ascended the throne. His reign is most notable for the Ottoman–Safavid War (1623–1639), 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 Murad III

8. Murad III (1546 - 1595)

With an HPI of 85.12, Murad III is the 8th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 69 different languages.

Murad III (Ottoman Turkish: مراد ثالث Murād-i sālis, Turkish: III.Murat) (4 July 1546 – 16 January 1595) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1574 until his death in 1595.

Photo of Mehmed III

9. Mehmed III (1566 - 1603)

With an HPI of 84.24, Mehmed III is the 9th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 66 different languages.

Mehmed III (Ottoman Turkish: محمد ثالث‎, Meḥmed-i sālis; Turkish: III. Mehmet; 26 May 1566– 22 December 1603) was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1595 until his death in 1603.

Photo of Bayezid I

10. Bayezid I (1354 - 1403)

With an HPI of 84.08, Bayezid I is the 10th most famous Turkish Politician.  His biography has been translated into 69 different languages.

Bayezid I (Ottoman Turkish: بايزيد اول‎, Turkish: I. Bayezid, nicknamed Yıldırım, Ottoman Turkish: یلدیرم‎, "Lightning, Thunderbolt", often "Bajazet"; c. 1360 – 8 March 1403) was the Ottoman Sultan from 1389 to 1402. He was the son of Murad I and Gülçiçek Hatun. He built one of the largest armies in the known world at the time and unsuccessfully besieged Constantinople. He adopted the title of Sultan-i Rûm, Rûm being an old Islamic name for the Roman Empire. He decisively defeated the Crusaders at Nicopolis (in modern Bulgaria) in 1396, and was himself defeated and captured by Timur at the Battle of Ankara in 1402 and died in captivity in March 1403, triggering the Ottoman Interregnum.

Pantheon has 422 people classified as politicians born between 1800 BC and 1976. Of these 422, 25 (5.92%) 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, Selim II, and Mehmed the Conqueror. As of October 2020, 23 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Piri Mehmed Pasha, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and Gessius Florus.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2020)

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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.