Sara Khatun: Queen and diplo­mat

Azeri Observer - - Azeri Observer - By Sevda Mikay­ilova AZ­ERI OB­SERVER CON­TRIB­U­TOR

S ara Khatun – the mother of Uzun Has­san who was a ruler in Azer­bai­jan in 15th cen­tury - was known as the only woman diplo­mat in the East who played sig­nif­i­cant role in the process of ne­go­ti­a­tions with for­eign coun­tries. There was a per­ma­nent em­bassy of Venice Re­pub­lic in the palace of Uzun Has­san.

We can proudly call the name of Sara Khatun, the first woman diplo­mat in the state his­tory of Azer­bai­jan. Ac­cord­ing to the Ot­toman sources, her real name was Govhar­shah Khatun. Sara Khatun – mother of Aq Qoyunlu ruler Uzun Hasan ( Tall Hasan), was known as only one tal­ented diplo­mat in the East of that time, woman of great in­tel­lect and courage, wis­dom and brav­ery.

Sara Khatun played im­por­tant role in strength­en­ing of Aq Qoyunlu state, in defin­ing and im­ple­ment­ing its for­eign pol­icy. She car­ried out the most com­pli­cated diplo­matic mis­sions of Uzun Hasan with a great ef­fort and suc­cess­fully. That is why; small Aq Qoyunlu state was able to main­tain in­de­pen­dence among two strong ri­vals as Ot­toman Turkey and Kara Koyunlu. Quite a clever, cau­tious woman, Sara Khatun helped her son in the state man­age­ment af­fairs.

When Turkey wanted to elim­i­nate Qara­man emi­rate which was the ally of Aq Qoyunlu state and had a fa­vor­able strate­gic po­si­tion in Mediter­ranean coast, Sara Khatun was sent to ne­go­ti­ate with Ot­toman Em­peror Mehmet the Se­cond.

Yassy­chemen agree­ment (1461) signed be­tween

the Ot­toman Em­peror II Mehmet and Sara Khatun was of great im­por­tance in main­tain­ing Aq Qoyunlu state in­de­pen­dence.

Uzun Hasan sent Sara Khatun to Sul­tan Mehmet mil­i­tary camp and gave her two dif­fi­cult tasks. First of all, she had to per­suade him not to at­tack on Aq Qoyunlu, and se­condly, to per­suade him as much as pos­si­ble not to con­quer Trab­zon.

Sara Khatun who had ma­jor in­flu­ence in the Mid­dle and Near East, was greeted with great honor in the mil­i­tary camp of the Ot­toman Sul­tan.

Ac­cord­ing to his­tor­i­cal sources dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions Sara Khatun and Mehmet II treated each other with the words “mother”, “son”. In the process of these ne­go­ti­a­tions Sara Khatun had used all her diplo­matic skills and car­ried out the first of Uzun Hasan’s tasks. This peace agree­ment had a great im­por­tance for Aq Qoyunlu state. But Sara Khatun couldn’t carry out the se­cond task. She failed to turn the Sul­tan off the idea, to add Trab­zonGreek state to Turkey. When Sul­tan Mehmet put an end of Trab­zon Em­pire, Sara Khatun raised the ques­tion of the in­her­i­tance of De­spina Khatun - her daugh­ter- in- law, wife of Uzun Has­san, and achieved to share the trea­sury of Trab­zon and en­riched the trea­sury of her state. This fact proves her great skills and clev­er­ness.

Sara Khatun also led en­voys of Aq Qoyunlu who ne­go­ti­ated with Timurid ruler - Abu Said ( 1468). This Azer­bai­jani lady was very well known in the Euro­pean coun­tries, they treated her with great re­spect. Europian, es­pe­cially Venice en­voys are sent to Azer­bai­jan in se­cret mis­sions en­trusted in the first place to meet with Sara Khatun to use her pres­tige in the palace for their own pur­poses.

The role of the East- West re­la­tions with Azer­bai­jan dur­ing the reign of Uzun Hasan, be­came much worse. In ad­di­tion to tra­di­tional re­la­tions with Eastern coun­tries he es­tab­lished wide diplo­matic re­la­tions with Euro­pean coun­tries. Dur­ing the reign of Uzun Hasan, Azer­bai­jan en- voys con­ducted diplo­matic ne­go­ti­a­tions in the palaces of the Vene­tian Re­pub­lic, pa­pacy, the King­dom of Naples, Albania, Hun­gary, Poland, Ger­many, Bur­gundy Duchy, Cyprus, Rhodes, Em­pire of Trab­zon, the Moscow king­dom, as well as the many neigh­bor­ing Eastern coun­tries.

Sara Khatun - Uzun Has­san's mother - the only woman diplo­mat in the East, played sig­nif­i­cant role in the process of ne­go­ti­a­tions with for­eign coun­tries. There was a per­ma­nent em­bassy of Venice Re­pub­lic in the palace of Uzun Has­san, Tabriz.

At that time, Aq Qoyunlu state had per­ma­nent em­bassies in more than 30 coun­tries of the world. Azer­bai­jan played a sig­nif­i­cant role in solv­ing in­ter­na­tional prob­lems of com­mon in­ter­est to both, the East and the West.

Yaqub Mam­madov di­rec­tor of In­sti­tute of His­tory of Azer­bai­jan Na­tional Academy of Sciences, in his re­search work ded­i­cated to Aq Qoyunlu and Safavi states re­la­tions with Western Europe coun­tries, states that, Uzun Has­san main­tained diplo­matic re­la­tions with a num­ber of states.

As well as be­ing a diplo­mat and states­man, Sara Khatun was a woman of great mil­i­tary lead­er­ship and mil­i­tary in­tu­ition. Her men­tal agility al­lowed her to take decisions in dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions. Sara Khatun was a women of honor, diplo­mat and had a tal­ent of mil­i­tary.

The most well-known his­to­rian of the Aq Qoyunlu era Abu Bakr Tehrany, wrote that Sara Khatun came to him in or­der to ne­go­ti­ate with Kara Koyunlu Ca­han­shah, in the camp of Rus­tam Tarkhan. His army did not seem to her grand and Sara Khatun, sent mes­sage to Ja­hangir Mirza and Uzun Has­san to come and in that case vic­tory will be theirs. “This mat­ter should not be de­layed”. Sara Khatun at a glance on the army of forces was able to make cor­rect assess­ment in fa­vor of Aq Qoyunlu de­fines that the cor­re­la­tion of forces troops in their fa­vor, which means her in­tu­ition and skills. In­deed, the in­tel­li­gence unit of Uzun Hasan, at­tacked the army of Rus­tam Tarkhan, and sr­tongly fright­ened Kara Koyunlu.

It is ad­mirable, that at a time when women was in a pow­er­less po­si­tion com­pared to men in all spheres of life, in the his­tory of Azer­bai­jan was such a brave and coura­geous women. Though Sara Khatun lived in the an­cient his­tor­i­cal pe­riod but her po­lit­i­cal cul­ture, diplo­matic ac­tiv­ity and per­sonal courage is ex­em­plar for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

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