The Ottoman Empire had all kinds of rulers ranging from the wisest to the most vicious and everything in between. Some of the most feared Sultans included Selim I, Murad IV, as well as Ibrahim the mad one. These Sultans committed atrocities against their people with grave human rights violations. They stopped at nothing to ensure loyalty and fear informed allegiance of subjects to him. Some were worshiped as gods because of the power they wielded to decide who died and who lived. Of these sultans, Murad IV stands out as the most feared Ottoman Empire’s greatest tyrant of all time.
Bin Ahmed or Murad IV. born in 1612, then rose to leadership of the Ottoman Empire in 1623, when strife, rebellion, and lawlessness were rife in the kingdom. Bin Ahmed succeeded a mentally unstable as well as epileptic uncle, Mustafa, through political manipulation that was crafted by the clerics with a new executive officer or Grand Vizier called Kemankes Kara Ali Pasha. Mustafa’s ousting was a means of safeguarding him from execution, which had been negotiated between the mother Halime Sultan and the Grand Vizier Ali Pasha. How Mustafa died in 1640 is not clear, but speculations exist that he was executed by order of the emperor. Others suggest that he died of complications of epilepsy after being imprisoned for 34 long years.
Because Bin Ahmed was only 10 years old when he took leadership, it was difficult for him to directly rule the kingdom. Consequently, the mother, Kosem Sultan, ruled instead of him using proxies for about five years. This period was marked by rebellions, revolts, and mutiny orchestrated by the infantry that formed the Sultan’s guard, which was also called janissary. As a result, about 16 palace officials and the Grand vizier were executed by the rebels. To avoid being overthrown, this king exercised authority by executing his wife’s brother as well as an Egyptian governor for disobeying a section of the religious law. He then became an imperial leader with absolute power in the empire.
Twenty thousand men were butchered by this Sultan in an effort to quell unrest and suppress mutiny. In Murad’s campaign to win bach Iran, both soldiers and citizens were slaughtered indiscriminately, about sixty thousand in total. Violent temperament and determination made this Sultan be the first to execute a Shaykh. Kosem Sultan’s son grew more intolerant to dissenting voices and disobedience from any subject in the kingdom. Despite an addiction to alcohol, tobacco as well as opium, the sale of these commodities was banned in the empire, therefore, anyone who dared sell them was executed.
King Murad would personally patrol the streets at night to look for lawlessness, then he would kill anyone he deemed culpable for any crime using any weapon. The king’s palaces were surrounded by water, so he would sit nearby and kill anyone who rowed a boat too close to the building using an arrow. This was a form of sport for the alcohol-addicted, opium intoxicated Sultan. Bin Ahmed has once strangled to death by a grand vizier for allegedly beating the ruler’s mother-in-law. This young emperor boasted so much of his cruelty as well as his strength.
Bayezid, a brother, threw him off in a joust, and that earned him the death penalty. The sultan also killed another brother for advising him to spare the life of their mentally ill brother, Ibrahim. During this king’s reign, thousands of people were whimsically murdered, with bodies strewn at every corner of the street. In a span of only five years, Sultan Murad had executed at least twenty thousand of his subjects just on mere suspicion. This maniac beheaded a palace musician just for playing a tune that was hated. Emperor Bin Ahmed once drowned a group of women the king found singing in the field, claiming that they were making unnecessary noise so disturbing his peace.
This was a very treacherous leader who had utter disregard for the sanctity of human life. The Grand Turk killed people out of love, hate, jealousy as well as mere pleasure indiscriminately. His victims included brothers, children, sisters, men, women, civilians as well as soldiers. He remains a legend of cruelty for the atrocities he committed against humanity.