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Bayezid was born in Demotika in Thrace. The son of Mehmed II the Conqueror, Bayezid ascended the Ottoman throne in 1481. Like his father, Bayezid was a patron of western and eastern culture and unlike many other Sultans, worked hard to ensure a smooth running of domestic politics, which earned him the epithet of "the Just". Throughout his reign, Bayezid engaged in numerous campaigns to conquer the Venetian-held despotate of Morea, accurately defining this region as the key to future Ottoman naval power in the Eastern Mediterranean. The last of these wars ended in 1501 with Bayezid in control of the main citadels of Mistra and Monemvasia.
Bayezid's overriding concern was the quarrel with his brother Cem, who claimed the throne and sought military backing from the Knights of St John in Rhodes. Eventually the Knights handed Cem over to Pope Clement VIII. The Pope thought of using Cem as a tool to drive the Turks out of Europe, but as the Papal Crusade failed to come to fruition, Cem was left to fester and die in a Neapolitan prison.
Rebellions in the east, such as that of the Kizil Bash, plagued much of Bayezid's reign and were often backed by the Shah of Persia, Ismail, who was eager to promote Shi'ism to undermine the authority of the Ottoman state. Ottoman authority in Anatolia was indeed seriously threatened during this period, and at one point Bayezid's grand vizier, Ali Pasha, was killed in battle against rebels.
On September 14, 1509, Constantinople was devastated by an earthquake. Bayezid's final years saw a succession battle between his sons Selim and Ahmed. Ahmed, the older of the two claimants had won a battle against the Karaman Turks and their Safavid allies in Asia Minor and now marched on Constantinople to exploit his triumph. Fearing for his safety, Selim staged a revolt in Thrace but was defeated by Bayezid and forced to flee to the Crimea (1511). At this point, Bayezid developed fears that Ahmed might in turn kill him to gain the throne and refused to allow his son to enter Constantinople.
Selim returned from the Crimea and, with support from the Janissaries, defeated and killed Ahmed. Bayezid then abdicated the throne on April 25, 1512. He departed for retirement in his native Demotika, but he died along the way, and is buried next to Beyezid Mosque in Istanbul.
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