Rise of the Ottomans
- "Shahkulu, try to moderate your anger. I know the Sultan humiliated your people. But there is no need to spit on men who are beneath us."
- ―Manuel Palaiologos regarding Shahkulu's behavior towards Ottoman prisoners.[src]
The Ottomans first came into light to the West in 1227 when they migrated westward into the Seljuk Empire, in Anatolia. There, the Ottomans created a state along with establishing a principality in Western Anatolia, under Ertuğrul.
His son Osman I expanded the principality, after whom both the empire and its people were named as "Ottomans". Along the way, the Ottomans created enemies from conquered states, such as Shahkulu, who was a Turkmen from Eastern Anatolia. However, the Ottoman Empire came into its own when Mehmet II captured the city of Constantinople from the Byzantines on 29 May 1453, deposing the Byzantine Empire's last Emperor, Constantine XI Palaiologos.
War with Wallachia
- "Once your Creed was as vital to me as air and water... but when the Turks marched into Wallachia, and you Assassins did nothing to stop it, how could I continue to believe?"
- ―Vali cel Tradat, regarding the Ottoman Assassins.[src]
In 1476, the Ottomans under the Grand Vizier Ishak Pasha participated in a military crackdown on a Hungarian uprising, entering a war with Wallachia and defeating the rebel prince, a Templar named Vlad Tepes.
During the later half of the 15th century, the Ottomans brokered a truce with the Assassins, via their leader Ishak Pasha, who was also a secret Assassin himself. This act led Vali cel Tradat to defect to the Templars, after he had served the Assassins for nearly a decade, as he considered the truce with the Ottomans and Assassins as a betrayal of his Wallachian heritage.
- "Not just one – two angry sons. It's a familiar pattern with these royals. When the Sultan coughs – ahem! – the Princes draw their swords."
- ―Yusuf Tazim, on the political tensions between Ahmet and Selim.[src]
Sultan Bayezid II led the Ottomans into a war with the remnants of the Byzantine Empire, led by Manuel Palaiologos, a Templar, who was attempting to reclaim the empire and restore it to its Byzantine roots.
While Bayezid had originally chosen his son Ahmet as the next Sultan, he soon faced fierce opposition from the Ottoman Janissaries, who supported his other son, Selim, and aided him in his bid for ascension to the throne. Selim then begun a tough war against his father in order to force him to abdicate the title of Sultan. In 1512, Bayezid eventually handed over the throne to Selim instead of Ahmet, and Selim became the new Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
As soon as he became the Sultan, Selim and his Janissary army marched their way towards Constantinople, where they found Selim's brother Ahmet facing off against the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze. As he approached his brother, Selim revealed to Ahmet that their father had ultimately chosen him as his successor, before he began to strangle Ahmet and eventually pushed him off a nearby cliff, killing him.
It was his reasoning that Ahmet, who was secretly a high-ranked member of the Templars, had betrayed the Ottomans when he formed an alliance with the Byzantines.
Under Suleiman's rule
In 1520, a tragedy robbed Selim of the Sultanate, and Suleiman, aged 26, succeeded him. His reforms greatly improved the Empire's bureaucratic system, which would later be described as a "well-oiled engine," despite its significant size.
During his rule, Suleiman expanded his Empire to its furthest points, stretching it from Algeria to the Persian Gulf, and from Austria down to Egypt. Respecting the diversity of those under his authority, he was always careful to honor their cultures, traditions, and religions.
- Main article: Janissaries
The Ottoman Janissaries were specially trained elite soldiers who served as the private guard to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. They were also the first standing Ottoman army, and the mainstay of the Ottoman forces during the 1453 invasion of Constantinople, led by Sultan Mehmet II.
During 16th century Constantinople, the citizens greatly feared the Janissaries, as they were prone to mistreating them. The Janissaries also patrolled the city, looking for any Byzantine guards, in order to drive them out of Constantinople. As such, Ezio used this to his advantage by creating tension between the two factions, by using bombs or dead bodies to provoke conflict between them.
Ottomans and the Assassins
- "For the first time in many decades, the Assassins have a strong presence here. It wasn't always that way. Under the Byzantine Emperor, the Assassins were hunted down and killed on the spot."
- ―Yusuf Tazim, about the Assassins in the 16th century.[src]
In 1204, the Mentor of the Levantine Assassins, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad journeyed to Constantinople – while the city was under Byzantine rule – in order to establish an Assassin Order there, but he proved unable to do so in the face of the Fourth Crusade. Later on in time, the Polo brothers, Niccolò and Maffeo, were able to establish an Assassin Guild in the city.
After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, Ishak Pasha brokered a truce between the Ottomans and the Assassins and began recruiting citizens into the Ottoman Brotherhood of Assassins. After he died, the task fell to the Master Assassin Yusuf Tazim, himself a recruit of Pasha.
When Sultan Bayezid II gave refuge to escaped Jews from the Inquisition of Queen Isabella I in Spain and King Manuel I in Portugal, realizing that the people would make his own empire stronger, the King of Spain, Ferdinand II – under the influence of the Templars – tried to send his own agents with the refugees to infiltrate Constantinople. This was foiled by the Italian Assassins, who killed the agents and took their places, before working to establish the guild there further.
Yusuf also successfully led the Ottoman Assassins, alongside the Italian Assassins, to help end the Venetian-Ottoman war. Rodrigo Borgia tried to disrupt this peace by sending his mercenaries to Constantinople. However, the Assassins, in constant vigil of such tactics from the Borgia, attacked the ship which headed for Constantinople and thwarted this attempt.
Initially, the Assassins had stolen maps from the famed Ottoman admiral and cartographer Piri Reis, in order to keep up with Templars' expedition of the New World. Despite this, Reis later joined the Assassin Order as a scholar and a technician, eventually becoming a Master Assassin who specialized in bomb crafting.
In 1511, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Mentor of the Italian Assassins, journeyed to the Ottoman Assassins' headquarters in Constantinople with the intention of finding the five keys needed to open the library of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, located underneath the fortress of Masyaf.
Greeted by Yusuf Tazim, Ezio was quickly taken in and introduced to various techniques that the Ottoman Assassins used, including bombs and the Hookblade, a modification made to the Hidden Blade by the Ottoman Assassins themselves. From there, Ezio, along with Yusuf and a handful of his high-ranked subordinates, led the Ottoman Assassins against the Byzantine Templars and Shehzade Ahmet.