Diplomatik Bir Yenilik? II. Selîm’in Nâmesi ve Sadrazamının Mektubu Bağlamında 1570 Yılında Venedik Cumhuriyeti’ne Verilen Ültimatomun İncelenmesi ve İlgili Metinlerin NeşriGüneş Işıksel
Bu makalede, II. Selim’in ve sadrazamı Sokollu Mehmed Paşa’nın Venedik Cumhuriyeti’nden Kıbrıs adasının barışcıl yollarla Osmanlı tarafına teslim edilmesini talep eden metinlerinin bağlamı ve içeriği inceleniyor. Eğer karşı taraf bu talepleri reddedecek olursa, söz konusu ada birkaç ay içinde işgal edilecekti. Konuyla ilgili müellefatta değinilen ancak bu zamana kadar üzerinde ayrıntılı çalışma yapılmamış bu mektuplar bu makalede cebri diplomasi aracı olarak ele alınıyor.
A Diplomatic Novelty? Ultimatum Given to the Venetian Republic in 1570 and the Edition of Relevant Letters by Sultan Selîm II and his Grand VizierGüneş Işıksel
In this article, I propose an edition and interpretation of letters by Selîm II and his grand vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha to the Republic of Venice to demand peaceful surrender of Cyprus. The letters specify that if the summoned party were to refuse, the island was to be ravaged within months. To interpret these rather peculiar but hitherto insufficiently analysed letters, I first revise the political context and then recontextualize them as an ultimatum, a specific instrument of so-called coercive diplomacy.
On March 23, 1570, Kubad Çavuş arrived in Venice to present to the Senate a letter from Selîm II and one from the grand vizier, Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, both dating from the first days of February 1570. Public honors were not rendered to Kubad, transmitter of the texts, and he was introduced unceremoniously to the Senate, presided over by the Doge. Because of the dispatches of Marc’Antonio Barbaro, Venetian representative at the Sublime Porte, the patricians knew part of the content of the letters, which were to contain the grievances of the Sublime Porte on some Venetian activities after the granting of the Capitulations in 1567. However, the letters that Kubad delivered were much more detailed than usual and somewhat atypical.
The sultan started his letter with a discussion about common borders that the Venetians were not respecting despite many warnings. Moreover, they were building fortresses in Dalmatia. In a previous letter, Selîm II had already asked for the demolition of some thirtyfour fortresses built contrary to the recent treaty. The sultan then moved on to the public grievances, which were made for the first time. The most important among those is about the support that Venetian authorities in Cyprus gave to the Catholic corsairs. The Venetians did not communicate to the governor of Alexandria the names of those who had recently captured two Muslim ships after having refueled with food and water on the Cypriot bases. The sultan also mentioned a recent assault to a Turkish ship near the Rosetta Canal by two privateer ships, which also obtained water from Cyprus. When the Ottoman authorities captured those and the hostages in the ships were questioned, they confirmed that the Venetians had provided assistance. Selîm II then evoked the case of the Venetian ships which had been confronted with Muslim corsairs. Once again, contrary to the Capitulations, where it is stipulated to not claim the blood of fallen privateers but to send them to the responsible State, the Venetians had executed the corsairs and seized their property.
From that point, the sultan moved on to the difficulty of negotiating with the bailo. Cases were unnecessarily postponed or not settled.
His other grievances were related to the commercial affairs of Ottoman subjects in the Venetian territories. For instance, in Venice, the father of a dhimmî merchant was kidnapped and killed on the pretext that he was trafficking in iron, a prohibited commodity. Uskok pirates robbed the merchant Hacı Ali, who embarked at Kotor in the Venetian territory to trade mohair and other products, without being compensated by the Republic, despite a relevant article in the Capitulations.
After listing all those points, the sultan summoned the Republic to cede Cyprus.
In his letter to the Senate, the grand vizier reiterated similar criticisms, but in a somewhat different manner, rather acting as a diplomat. He began by referring to the good relations between the two states during the days of the previous sultan. Sokollu Mehmed, as his grand vizier, frequently negotiated with the bailo who were to confirm his continued efforts for Ottoman-Venetian friendship. After the new sultan’s accession to the throne, he continued to give not only his advice to Venetian emissaries in Istanbul but some warnings also. However, they were not heeded as they might have been.
For example, after the delimitation of the borders in accordance with the Treaty of 1567, the Ottoman emissaries observed the formation of Venetian settlements in the Ottoman territory and informed the Ottoman capital about them. After that, Sokollu could only present those reports to the sultan. He then criticized the Veneitan Republic’s treatment of Muslim privateers. While the Serenissima, according to the treaty, was to send them to Istanbul for trial and punishment, she illegally detained them. Whenever the Pasha tried to argue with the Venetian representatives in Istanbul on those matters, the latter delayed negotiations on various pretexts, and as a result, several cases remained unresolved. However, when the Venetians had business dealings with him, all of them were fully examined and settled.
After those criticisms and remarks, he turned to the important matter of Cyprus. He evoked, just as the sultan did, the privateer ships captured near Alexandria which had obtained supplies in Cyprus. He accused the Venetian authorities of sheltering and supplying the enemies of the sultan at the expense of the Capitulations. Therefore, if they wished to repair the damaged relations, they should cede Cyprus by their own will. Otherwise, they would have to suffer severe consequences.
The grand vizier’s letter differed from the sultan’s by a more personal tone, so much so that at the beginning of his letter, he tries to present himself as an intermediary between the two powers and does not hide his sympathy for the Republic of Saint Mark. But when the Porte’s interests compelled the grand vizier to position himself as the enemy of Venice, the advices of the skillful diplomat turned into real and surreptitious threats.
After the reading of the letters, 220 senators participated in a vote: 199 approved the Doge’s proposal of resistance; five were of the opposite opinion; sixteen balls were canceled. Two states entered into bloody warfare.
In this article, I not only propose an edition of the two hitherto unpublished letters (the sultan’s is a nâme, and the grand vizier’s a mektûb) of ultimatum but try to explicitly give the circumstances in which the letters were composed, focusing especially on Sokollu Mehmed Pasha’s dealings with the Venetian emissaries in Istanbul and international configuration in the first months of 1570.