Military Wiki

Şahkulu[lower-alpha 1] also known as Shah-Qoli Baba,[2][4] Shahqoli Baba, or Karabıyıkoğlu[citation needed] (died July 2, 1511), was the leader of the pro-Shia and pro-Safavid uprising in Anatolia – the Şahkulu Rebellion – directed against the Ottoman Empire in 1511. He was viewed as a Messiah and Prophet by his followers.[5] His death in battle signified the end of the uprising. He is buried in Amasya.


Şahkulu was a member of the Turkmen Tekkelu tribe.[2] Being inspired by Safavid missionaries, the Turkmens living on Ottoman soil, "as far west as Konya", were mobilized in a "fervent messianic movement", led by Şahkulu.[2] Şahkulu and his followers tried to "replicate" the same type of revolt led by Ismail I several years earlier, "perhaps in anticipation of a union with the Safavids".[2] Şahkulu was killed in 1511, and the pro-Safavid movement was "halted temporarily".[2] But the anxiety of the Ottomans, in relation to "losing much of their Asian possessions was not eased".[2] Nor did the hatred of the Ottomans for Ismail I cease to exist, even though Ismail apologized for the atrocities caused by the Turkmens and "disowned" Şahkulu.[2] As the possibility existed of a "mass Turkmen exodus into the Safavid realm", Bayezid II sought to establish good relations with Ismail, "at least on the surface, and welcomed Ismail's gestures to establish good neighborly relations".[2] In letters sent to Ismail, Bayezid II addressed Ismail as "heir to the kingdom of Kaykhosrow – the legendary great king of the Shahnameh – and to Dara (Darius) of the ancient Persian Empire".[2] Abbas Amanat adds: "He further advised Ismail to behave royally, preserve his precious and strategically vital kingdom with justice and equanimity, end forced conversions, and leave in peace with his neighbors".[2]

Bayezid II had faced a revolt from his own son Selim (who succeeded as Selim I), in the final years of his rule.[2] Unlike his father, Selim, then still a prince, disliked his father's appeasement policies vis-a-vis the Safavids.[2] When Selim I thus ascended the throne in 1512, things changed drastically.[2] Tensions rose, which eventually led to the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514.

In popular culture

A fictionalized version of Şahkulu appears in the 2011 video game Assassin's Creed: Revelations, where he is called Shahkulu and serves as an antagonist.[6]

He appeared in the board game Assassin's Creed: Arena with Anacletos, Odai Dunqas and Oksana Razin.[7] It was launched on 26 February 2014.[8]


  1. Also spelled "Shah Kulu",[1] "Shah Qoli",[2] or "Shah Quli".[3]



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