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By the time he was a young man, Prince Ahmet was already the presumed heir to the Ottoman Empire, having been chosen by his own father Bayezid II to assume the throne. To many this made perfect sense: Ahmet was a grateful and loyal son who shared his father's distaste for war and his affection for esoteric knowledge.

But to others—those who viewed Ahmet's traits as weakness—he was a sad symbol of the dwindling power of the Sultanate. And as such, he appeared to many Ottoman officials to be incapable of adapting himself to the requirements of the throne.

The Sultan's own Janissaries were quite vocal about their dislike for the would-be Sultan and openly questioned his fitness as a leader. Would he protect the Empire, as was his duty? Would he wage war against the Mamluks to the south and the Safavids to the East? Would he expand the boundaries of the Empire as God had decreed? The Janissaries wanted positive answers to these pressing questions, and had no faith that Ahmet would provide a satisfying answer.

At some point around 1510, Ahmet's younger brother Selim - with the silent support of the Janissaries - made an overt bid for the throne, marching a small army towards Constantinople, expecting to meet little resistance. To Ahmet's great relief, his father Bayezid stepped in to stop Selim's advance. But the old Sultan was sickly and - as many people thought - incapable of sustaining an internecine war as mad and tragic as this one was shaping up to be....

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