Mehmed II reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire on two separate occasions; from 1444 to 1446 and again from 1451 to 1481. During his first reign, Mehmed II defeated the military expedition led by John Hunyadi. During his second reign, Mehmed II strengthened the Ottoman navy and conquered Constantinople at age 21, which ended the Byzantine Empire.
Ali Kemal was a Turkish journalist, poet, newspaper editor, government official, and liberal-leaning politician. He is best remembered for his brief service as the Minister of the Interior of the Ottoman Empire in 1919. During the Turkish War of Independence, Ali Kemal was assassinated by paramilitary officers.
Abdülmecid I reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 2 July 1839 until his death on 25 June 1861. During his reign, Abdülmecid I tried to set up alliances with France and the United Kingdom. He also played an important role in the Crimean War against the Russians.
Mehmed I reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 5 July 1413 until his death on 26 May 1421. Prior to his reign as the emperor of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed I ruled as the Sultan of Anatolia from 1403 to 1413. Nicknamed The Restorer, Mehmed I is credited with re-establishing central authority in Anatolia.
Zeno reigned as the Roman emperor of the East on two separate occasions; from 474 to 475 and again from 476 to 491. His reign marked the end of the Western Roman Empire after the deposition of Romulus Augustus. However, Zeno is credited with stabilizing the Eastern Empire.
The 2nd president of Turkey, İsmet İnönü had also been a 3-time prime minister of the country. Previously an efficient military commander, who had fought in World War I and the Greco-Turkish War, he later led the Republican People's Party in Turkey’s one-party state. He had also been Turkey's foreign affairs minister.
The 28th sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Selim III was a ruler who believed in modern reforms. A talented poet and composer of Ottoman music, he introduced the nizam-ı cedid, a set of new reforms. He redefined his kingdom’s military strategies and taxation system and launched embassies in Europe.
Turkish politician Talaat Pasha, who chaired the Union and Progress Party during its one-party dictatorship, later became the Grand Vizier, or prime minister, of Turkey. He had also been Turkey’s minister of the interior and finance. A convicted war criminal, he was assassinated by an Armenian in Germany, where he had escaped.
Ancient Byzantine emperor Justinian II was the son of Constantine IV and an efficient ruler, though he was also known for his cruel ways and means. He was also known as Rhinotmetos, or the slit-nosed, after his nose was cut off during a revolt in 695, following which he was banished from the kingdom.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a Turkish politician and the current president of Turkey. After founding the Justice and Development Party (AKP), he played a major role in leading the party to election victories and thereby helping AKP become a force to reckon with in Turkey. Described as an authoritarian, his government has restricted access to sites like Wikipedia and YouTube.
The 24th sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mahmud I was the son of Mustafa II. Known for his friendly relationships with the Mughal and Safavid empires, he also fought against Austria and Russia in a war that ended in the Treaty of Belgrade. He is remembered for restoring peace after the Patrona Halil uprising.
The 8th president of Turkey, Turgut Özal was also the country’s 19th prime minister. He led the Motherland Party, also known as ANAP, and had also worked with the World Bank as an economist. He died of a heart attack while in office, though many believe he may have been poisoned.
Abdullah Öcalan is a Turkish political prisoner best known for founding the Kurdistan Workers' Party in the midst of the 1980 Turkish coup d'état. He fled to Syria in 1979 and was active there until 1998. Abdullah Öcalan left Syria in 1998 and was taken captive in 1999 as part of an operation led by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization.
Roman emperor of the 4th century, Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius was the son of Maximian. He spent most of his later rule dealing with civil wars. He also invested in building religious structures. He was eventually beaten and killed at Battle of the Milvian Bridge.
Turkey’s 9th prime minister, Adnan Mendere had also formed the Democrat Party after being expelled from the RPP. In Turkey’s first free election in over 25 years, in 1950, he had a sweeping win. He and 2 of his cabinet members were tried and hanged after the 1960 coup d'état.
Macedonian king of the 4th century, Antigonus I Monophthalmus was initially a military general under Alexander the Great. He founded the Macedonian Antigonid dynasty and was known for his efficient military strategies. He is remembered for his role in the Wars of the Diadochi and has appeared in prominent historical fiction.
Roman emperor of the East in the 5th century, Theodosius II was declared co-augustus at the age of 9 months by his father, Arcadius. He became an emperor at age 7. Known as gentle, he was mostly dominated by his ministers but also led campaigns against the Persians, the Huns, and the Vandals.
The 32nd sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Abdülâziz was the son of Mahmud II. An admirer of Western ways, he became the first sultan to travel to Western Europe. He was also a talented composer. He was deposed and died of suicide a few days later, though many believe he was assassinated.
After leading the coup of 1980, Turkish military commander Kenan Evren took over as the 7th president of Turkey. Following his retirement, he settled in Marmaris and mastered oil painting. Evren died before his final conviction and sentencing in the trial for the 1980 coup.
The 21st sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Ahmed II reigned in the 17th century. He spent most of his reign in campaigns against the Holy League of Austria, Venice, and Poland. He faced significant Arab unrest and encouraged settlements of nomadic Turkmen tribes. He was also mostly dominated by his courtiers.
Emine Erdoğan became the First Lady of Turkey as the wife of Turkey’s 12th president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. She has been associated with social initiatives, especially those related to women’s issues, mothers, girls, and environmental concerns. She has also been awarded for her work for flood relief in Pakistan.
The 16th prime minister of Turkey, Bülent Ecevit had held the post for 4 terms. He had led both the Democratic Left Party and the Republican People's Party and is remembered as the only left-wing prime minister that Turkey ever had. He was also a journalist and a talented poet and author.
The 10th president of Turkey, Ahmet Necdet Sezer was also a prominent judge. Initially a supervisory judge at the High Court of Appeals, he later served as the 14th president of the Constitutional Court of Turkey. The independent politician became Turkey’s first president from a legal background and strongly believed in secularism.
Ottoman grand vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha led the Ottoman army to a loss in the Battle of Lepanto but eventually acquired Cyprus from the Venetian forces. A tough military leader, he held the post of governor-general. Following the death of sultan Selim II, he faced hostility and was eventually assassinated.
The 23rd and first Islamist prime minister of Turkey, Necmettin Erbakan had been a mechanical engineer and a professor before stepping into politics. The Welfare Party politician had also led other Islamist parties, such as the Felicity Party and the National Salvation Party, but was accused of going against Turkey’s secular constitution
The 9th president of Turkey, Süleyman Demirel, was also the country’s 12th and youngest prime minister. He had led both the Justice Party and the True Path Party. The civil engineer and politician hailed from a peasant family. Amid extremist violence, he was once barred from participating in politics.
Byzantine emperor of the 6th century, Justin II was the son of Vigilantia, who was the sister of emperor Justinian I. Declared an heir by a childless Justinian, he strengthened the economic situation of his kingdom during his reign. His rule was plagued by clashes with the Avars, Lombards, and Persians.
Turkish left-wing politician and diplomat Burhan Asaf Belge was also the first husband of Hungarian-American actor Zsa Zsa Gabor. He represented the Muğla province at the Turkish National Assembly. He had also served as the ambassador of Turkey to Hungary, where he met Gabor.
Turkish economist Tansu Çiller has been Turkey’s 22nd prime minister and the only woman to hold the post. The True Path Party politician has also been Turkey’s minister of state and of foreign affairs, and the deputy minister of the country. She also became Turkey’s youngest full professor.
The 25th Ottoman sultan, Osman III, was also the 90th Islamic caliph. The son of Sultan Mustafa II, he spent a long time imprisoned, following his father’s deposition. Known for his ill-tempered nature, he banished all musicians from the palace. However, he also constructed the aesthetic Nuruosmaniye Mosque.
Born in modern-day Cappadocia, Turkey, Basiliscus grew up to be an Eastern Roman emperor in the 5th century. He was the brother of Verina, who was the wife of Emperor Leo I. His belief in the Monophysite heresy caused conflicts. He was eventually exiled to Cappadocia and beheaded after Emperor Zeno’s return.
The 3rd president of Turkey, Celâl Bayar was also the country’s 3rd prime minister and a seasoned economist. The Democrat Party leader had also previously been a member of the Committee of Union and Progress and the Republican People's Party. He is also remembered for introducing etatism, or a state-directed economy, in Turkey.
Ahmet Tevfik Pasha had been the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire for 3 terms and was the last Ottoman to hold the post. He had also been the Ottoman Empire’s foreign minister. He supported revolutionary Mustafa Kemal’s nationalist movement which opposed the Allied occupation of Anatolia following World War I.
Turkish politician Alpaslan Turkes, who founded the far-right Nationalist Movement Party, had also served his country as its deputy prime minister. After a stint with the army, he gained popularity as a major figure of the 1960 coup. He was initially part of the Republican Villagers Nation Party.
Retired Turkish motorcycle racing star Kenan Sofuoğlu is a 5-time winner of the Supersport World Championship. A string of injuries, including a hip injury, ended his racing career. He later joined politics with the Justice and Development Party, or the AK Party, and represented the Sakarya Province in the Turkish parliament.
Turkish poet, scholar, mystic, and miniature painter Ali-Shir Nava'I was a major figure of Chagatai literature. He was also interested in music, architecture, and calligraphy, and donated huge sums for much of constructions of his city. His best-known works include Muhakamat al-Lughatayn and Majālis-i nefaʾīs.
Turkish military commander Cevdet Sunay later served as the 5th president of Turkey and had also been the Chief of the General Staff of Turkey. He had participated in World War I and the Turkish War of Independence. He became the president after President Cemal Gursel’s presidency was terminated due to ill health.
Édouard Balladur is a French politician who served as the prime minister of France from 1993 to 1995. He started his political career in the 1960s and steadily rose through the ranks, becoming the minister of economy and finance. A few years later, he took office as the prime minister. The media often caricatures him as aloof, aristocratic, and arrogant.