Court Of Süleyman The Great, 1550

Welcome all,

I will be asking you to call me “my Sultan,” or “your excellency” for the duration of our time together. You brave women and men are a part of the court of Süleyman the Great now, after all. As you know, our glorious Empire is presently at a crossroads. There are many choices that stand before us, and I will be conferring with you – my advisers and loved ones, whom I have chosen very carefully – in order to arrive at the most sacred and favorable outcome for this great empire. Because of this, I will be asking each of you to put aside your differences and begin to work together.

We must decide in which direction we will continue to expand Ottoman power. Our naval and armed forces are the strongest they have ever been, and with our ever-developing commercial ties with the Christian peoples, the spread of our rule is but only imminent. There are, however, steps we must take to get there. We have had the Hungarians under control for 24 years now, but Vienna continues to be a thorn in my side. There are few things in the world that I want as much as to see the Austrians fall at the feet of Ottoman power, yet, it seems, opportunities may have arisen elsewhere as well... More to this later.

I should tell you now that in my free time I double as Balim Barutcu, a sophomore at Harvard College. I enjoy poetry, performing arts and Model UN, and am absolutely thrilled to be directing at HNMUN 2017 with Neil, my Grand Vizier.

I look forward to seeing you all very soon.

Balim Barutçu
Director, Court of Süleyman the Great, 1550
Harvard National Model United Nations 2017

Dear Delegates,

My name is Neil Reilly and I’ll be your Crisis Director for the Court of Süleyman the Great, 1550! I’m a sophomore at Harvard studying History and Government, with a focus on the Middle East and Central Europe. I’m originally from a rural town in Northern Ireland, which does very little to explain my fascination with the Ottoman Empire.

It was growing up in an area of political turmoil with a deeply troubled history that first got me interested in diplomacy. I participated in public speaking and debating throughout high school, and discovered Model UN at college, where I’m an active member of the travelling team and a Director at Harvard’s high school conference.

The sixteenth century was a dynamic period in world history. Sweeping religious and political questions were coming to the fore at this time, and the Ottoman Empire was at the heart of them. Would the armies of Islam seize on a divided Christianity and take the last holy land: Rome? Would faith be cast aside and a politically opportune Franco-Ottoman alliance be reached against the Habsburgs? Could an ethnically and religiously diverse Empire happily incorporate its disparate lands? This committee will address great themes in history, and I’m excited to explore them with you!

As Crisis Director, it will be my job to help guide you through the Ottoman Court, as you help shape the future. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Neil Reilly
Crisis Director, Court of Süleyman the Great, 1550
Harvard National Model United Nations 2017

Sultan Süleyman’s court is a dynamic place, to say the least. 1550 – at the height of Ottoman Empire, as it will later be called, the Sultan and Caliph must decide the final moves he makes before he leaves the throne for his son. From Hungary to the Persian Gulf, Süleyman the Magnificent achieved some of the greatest conquests in history, marking the Pax Ottomana.

Comprised of an eclectic mix of people, the court will serve to advise the Sultan in the last 16 years of his life, during which some of the decisions he makes will influence the Ottoman Empire well into the future. Which of his sons will ascend to the Sultanate in the wake of his death? Who will subsequently become the Empress Mother? In which direction will the Sultan send his forces? The members of this court will debate and scheme their way to answering these questions, all representing differing interests. This will doubtless affect the moves the Sultan chooses to make, which could result in the subversion of history, throwing 16th century Europe into chaos, or better yet, bringing the Ottomans into power beyond their historically recognised territory. The court will thus function on the basis of a pervasive desire to expand the Ottoman Empire.

Yet, given the individual goals of each court member, the natural enmity between some of them will influence the Sultan more than expansionary items. Particularly in terms of his Harem, the adversarial influences within the court will no doubt lead to interesting internal outcomes.

Then, the task of this committee is to balance internal and external Ottoman affairs. Beware, though – Sultan Süleyman’s justice is severe, he is the Lawgiver.