Fatih Sultan Mehmet II: A legacy of Strategy, Planning and Undeterred Resolve
Episode 3: Fulfillment of the Prophecy
A popular saying at the time was “Better the Turkish turban than the Papal tiara.” The relations between Orthodox Byzantines and followers of the Catholic Church were so volatile that Mehmet’s task became inadvertently easier. The Emperor, Constantine, was aware that there was little that bound his people together, within the formidable walls, even if help arrived from the West. Mehmet was able to lay a 53-day siege despite significant losses such as the loss of his tunnel engineers and workers through a fire, who were trying to build a tunnel opening inside Constantinople.
The vision of Mehmet’s Grand Vizier was clouded by the lust for power who doubted
Mehmet’s conviction and firmly believed that he was leading the glorious empire to ruins. Despite such strong opposition from within, Mehmet’s resilience weathered all storms. He deployed a multi-faceted strategy using diplomatic relations with the Genoese at Galata to successfully hatch a miraculous plan. He single-handedly conceived a plan to give safe passage to the smaller war vessels from the Bosphorus to Golden Horn. For this, he commissioned the construction of a wooden oiled ramp on the Genoese land.
The plan materialized within a matter of days as boats were transferred during the night, into the heavily guarded Golden Horn. One fine day, the defenders of Constantinople were taken by surprise as war vessels had found a way inside the heavily guarded Golden Horn. It marked the final blow before the city walls succumbed to the explosive cannons.
On 29th May 1453, according to most commentators,Mehmet fulfilled the prophecy. Mehmet’s glorious victory sent tremors within Europe, as dark clouds signalling an uncertain future for Christendom in the East, arrived. Constantinople, the symbol of Christian power in the East, suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Ottomons, carrying the Muslim flag. It soon became the seat of power of the Ottoman Sultans, for years to come, who would then lead campaigns into the heart of Europe. Mehmet II came to be known by various titles including ‘Kayser-i Rûm’ (Caesar of the Romans) and ‘The Sultan of Two Lands and the Two Seas’.