Warfare as a Tool of Diplomacy: Background of the First Ottoman-Safavid Treaty in 1555

Atcil Z.

TURKISH HISTORICAL REVIEW, vol.10, no.1, pp.3-24, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1163/18775462-01001006
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.3-24


The Amasya Treaty (1555) ended a half-century of Ottoman-Safavid military and ideological rivalry during the sixteenth century. My paper focuses on why the Ottoman and Safavid empires made this treaty despite a long-standing ideological and political divide. It has been widely held that the Safavids could not afford such a costly rivalry and, tired of the Ottoman military campaigns, they pleaded with the Ottomans to make peace. Based on my comparative research in Ottoman, Persian, and European sources, I find that this narrative misses many essential points and omits certain historical facts just before the treaty was signed. I argue that the Ottomans also wished for and, at once, requested peace with the Safavids. I show that, although the Ottoman army ostensibly left Istanbul to fight with the Safavids in 1553, the primary motive was to use warfare as a diplomatic tool to force the Safavids to ask for peace.