Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Turkey Heads of State

Also see Turkey Ministers

The various female rulers of Byzans and  Constantinople 
are found in the entry Greece Heads. See also Turkey Substates

B.C. ca.1590  Co-Regent, The Tawananna Harapscheki of the Hitit Kingdom
Married to King Hantili. The Queens, Tawanna's, is believed to have been a kind of co-regents to their husbands and they wielded considerable influence. The dates of this period is not very accurate. 

B.C. circa 1550-05 The Tawananna Charapsilis
She was married to king Mursili I and later to Chantilis.

B.C. circa 1505.The Tawananna 
Daughter of Charapsilis and also married to king Chantilis 

B.C. circa 1500 The Tawananna Alluwanna
Married to King Ischtaparaija, who succeeded his father-in-law Telipinus. His first wife was the Princess Harapsili

B.C. circa 1480 The Tawananna Ijaja
Married to king Zadanta

B.C. circa 1470 The Tawananna Summiri
Married to king Huzzija

B.C. ca 1460-40/20 The Tawananna Nikalmati I
Daughter of Queen Alluwamnas and married to Tutchalijas II

B.C. circa 1440-20 The Tawananna Asmunikal 
Married to Arnuwanda I

B.C. ca 1400-1380 The Tawananna Nikalmati II
Married to Tutchalijas III

B.C. ca 1380-46  The Tawananna Pudhepa I
Married to king Suppiluliumas.Succeded by his second wife 

B.C. ca 1380-46 The Tawananna Henti
Married to king Suppiluliumas. Succeeded by his third wife 

B.C. ca 1380-45/15 The Tawananna Malnigal of Babylon
Married to king Suppiluliumas. She was also Tawananna under her son Mursilis II but was deposed and succeeded by his wife

B.C. circa 1345-15 The Tawananna Gaschschulawija
Succeeded by husband Mursilis IIs second wife

B.C. circa 1345-15 The Tawananna Danuhepa I
Married to king Mursili II

B.C. circa 1315-1282  The Tawananna N.N. 
Married to Muwatalli

B.C. 1282-85 The Tawananna N.N. 
Married to King Mursili III

B.C. circa 1275-50 The Tawananna Pudhepa II
Married to king Hattusili III. She was also regent for their son Tuthalija IV and later became his co-ruler

B.C. circa 1305-1282 The Tawananna Danuhepa II
Married to king Muwatalli

Byzantine Rulers

From 1362 Hulufira Nilüfer Valide Sultan
After the death of her husband, Sultan Orkhan Ghazi of Anatolia and Rumalia she became Sultana Valide during the reign of her son, Sultan Murad Hudavendigar Han. According to some sources she had acted as regent during the military campagns of her husband, whom she married in 1299. She was daughter of
the Bey of Yarhisar (b. 1283).

1451-87 Politically Influential Sultanina Mara Branković of the Ottoman Empire (Osmanlı İmparatorluğu)
Also known as Maryam Khanum, Despina Hatun or Amerissa, she was daughter of Georg, Despot of Serbia, and when she was married to the Ottoman sultan Murad II in 1433 her dowry was the larger part of Serbia. She had no children of her own but was close to her husband's son, Mehmed II the Conqueror (1430-51-81), and she was very influntial during his reign from 1451, and he often called upon her for advice. She later held court at Ježero in Macedonia surrounded by exiled Serbian nobles, 1461 she was joined by her sister, Catherine, widow of Ulrich II Cantacuzene of Cilly, and they lead an unofficial "foreign office" from Macedonia. In the war between Turkey and Venetia (1463-79) they played an important role as intermediaries and were employed by both sides as diplomatic agents. In 1471 Mara personally accompanied a Venetian ambassador to the Porte for negotiations with the Sultan. She retained her influence of the appointment of leaders of the Orthodox Church, and according to some remained influential during Mehmed's successor, Bayezid II. She lived (circa 1412-87).

1469-1490/1492 Politically Influential Catherine Cantacuzina Branković in the Ottoman Empire
When her husband, Count Ulrich II of Celli (1406-56), died she inherited his properties, but was obliged to conclude a treaty one year later with Friedrich III Duke of Austria under which she handed over all the Cilli castles in Carinthia, Styria and Carniola while she retained the family castles in Hungary and Croatia. However, in 1460 she was had to sell her remaining properties to Vitovec,  Ban of Slavonia, and retired to Dubrovnik. 9 years later she joined her younger sister, Mara Branković, widow of Sultan Murad II of the Ottoman Empire, at her residence in Ježevo (probably identical to the modern settlement of Dafni in Mount Athos), who was and advisor of her step-son Mehmed from 1451. Together with her sister, she acted as intermediary during the Turkish/Venetian war which lasted until 1479. The daughter of Despot Đurađ Branković of Serbia and Eirene Kantakouzene, she lived (circa 1418-1490/1492).


1481-92 Amina Gul-Bahar Khanum Valide Sultan
The Valide Sultan was the mother of the sultan, and had an important place in the imperial family. In some aspects she was considerd as a joint-ruler with theoretical jurisdiction over the women in the empire. She lived (1434-94)

1520-34 Gulbehar Hatun Mahidevran Valide Sultan
Also known as Aisha Hafsa Khanum. Daughter of Isaa Bey, the ruler of the Aydinoglu State.


1553-69 Influential International Banker Gracia Nasi in Europe and the Ottoman Empire
She inherited the wast Mendes fortune after the death in 1542 of her brother-in-law, Diego, whom she had joined in Antwerpen after the death of her husband, Francisco whose wealthy Spanish Jewish banking family had also fled the Inquisition and settled in Portugal. She then took over the management of the international banking empire and continued using the family's contacts and resources to help Jews escape the Inquisition, and this meant that she and her remaining family were constantly in danger. Over the next 11 years, she moved across Europe with her daughter, her sister, and her daughter- and son-in-law, traveling from Antwerp through France, Italy, and Turkey. The Inquisition pursued them, local rulers relentlessly crying heresy and attempting to confiscate their fortune. With diplomacy, shrewdness, and business acumen, she managed to escape each assault and continue building the family business. She and her family finally reached Turkey in 1553, where they settled near Constantinople. Here she persuaded Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to grant her a long-term lease on the Tiberias region of the Palestine where she spearheaded one of the earliest attempts to start an independent state for Jews in Israel. She took back her maiden name and was called Gracia Nasi once and for all. She lived (1510-1569).

1574-83 Nurbanu Sultan Valide Sultan
She took an active part in the governance of the empire as the chief advisor of her son, Murad II. Of Italian origin, she lived (1530-83)

1594-1603 Politically Influential Safiye Vailde Sultan of The Ottoman Empire
Already as Chief Wife of her husband, Murat III from 1574 she was the power behind the throne especially after the death of her mother-in-law Nurbanu. She continued the pro-Venetian policy of Nurbanu and maintained an extensive foreign correspondance, most notably with Queen Elizabeth I of England. When her husband died, she kept the news secret, because wanted to give her son, Mehmet, time to return from Manisa, where he was governor. In 1599 Queen Elizabeth presented Mehmet with an organ and Safiye with a splendid carriage, which she used to excursions into the town. When Mehmet died in 1603 her grandson, Ahmet I, sent her to the Old Seray where she died 15 years later. She lived (1550-1618).

1594-1600 (†) Politically Influential Esperanza Malchi in the Ottoman Empire 
Throughout the ages the Queen Mothers had carried out their financial dealings through a series of Jewish women (kira), who acted as commercial agents for the secluded Harem women. Safiye's kira was Esperanza Malchi, who became enormously rich, and the Secretary to the British embassy in the 1600s even attributed her influence to the the fact that she and Safiye were lovers. In 1600 the imperial cavalry rose up in a revolt because of the devaluation of the currency. Their fury was directed towards Malchi, who was killed together with her son.

1603-05 De-facto Ruler Handam Valide Sultan
Her full title was Daulatlu Ismatlu Hansam Validi Sultan 'Ahiyat us-Shan Hazratlari. She was mother of Ahmed I, and lived (1576-1605)

1617-18 and 1622 Naib-i-Sultanat (Regent) Valide Sultana II
Of Caucasian origin, she lived (1576-1623)
[Fuldane Valide of caucasian origan and moteher of Mustafa I]

1618-20 Kahadija Hatice Mahfiruz Valide Sultan
Also known as Daulatlu Mahfiruz, her full title as mother of the sultan was Daulatlu Ismatlu Mahfiruz Validi Sultan 'Ahiyat us-Shan Hazratlari. Mother of Osman, and lived (1590-1620)

1623-32 Naib-i-Sultanat (Regent) Kösem Mahpeyker Valide Sultan
1632-51 De-fact regent
Her full name and title was Daulatlu Ismatlu Kulsum Mahpeyker Validi Sultan 'Ahiyat us-Shan Hazratlari.
Kösem therefore was regent for son Murad, (1623-40) who succeeded at the age of 11, for Ibrahim (1640-48) who was mentally disturbed and for grandson Mehmed IV, who succeeded at the age of 7 in 1648. In 1651 she plotted against her daughter-in-law, but was killed instead. Of Greek origin, she lived (1589-1651)

1651-56 Naib-i-Sultanat (Regent) Khadija Turhan Hadice Valide Sultan
The widow of Ibrahim, she had been Valide Sultan since 1648, she took over as regent for her son, Mehmed IV (1648-51-87) after her mother-in-law was killed. As her predecessor as regent, she took part in the deliberations in the Imperial Diet seated behind a curtain, she authorized all appointments and cooperated closely with the Grand Vizir as "The Guardian and Representative of the Sultan". Of Russian origin, she lived (1627-83)

1687-89 Saliha Dilasub Valide Sultan
Another widow of Ibrahim, her full title as mother of the sultan was Daulatlu Ismatlu Mahfiruzl Validi Sultan 'Ahiyat us-Shan Hazratlari. Mother of Süleiman II (1687-91), she was mother of Suleyman, and lived (1627-89)

1695-1715 Mah-Para Ummatallah Rabia Gül-Nüz Ummetulla Valide Sultan
Mother of Mustafa II (1695-1703) and Ahmed III (1703-30). She did not play any major role during their reigns, but she was asked to approve and authorize the replacement of Mustafa by Ahmed, which she did. As the senior representative of the dynasty, her approval was considered to be imperative. Daughter of the Venetian Retimo Verzizzi, she lived (1647-1715). 

1718-30 Politically Influential Princess Hatice Sultan
Her father, Sultan Ahmed III largely left the affairs of state to her husband, Grand Vizier Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha, and she had great influence over both. Some sources regard her as the real ruler of the later Tulip era (1703-1730), at least during the 1720s. She was to have assisted Marquis de Villeneuve in a Pro-French politic during the war between France and Russia. Some historians see her as the last de facto female ruler of the Ottoman Empire.

1730-39 Saliha Sabkati Valide Sultan
Widow of Mustafa II and mother of Mahmud I (1750-54). She lived (1680-1739)

1754-56 Sehsuvar Valide Sultan
Another widow of Mustafa II, she was mother of Osman III (1754-57). Of Russian origin, she lived (1682-1756)

1789-1805 Mihr-i shah Valide Sultan
Widow of Mustafa III and mother of Selim III (1789-1807)

1807-08 Ayse Seniyeperver Valide Sultan
Also known as Daulatlu Ismatlu Aisha Sina Parvar Validi Sultan 'Ahiyat us-Shan Hazratlari, she was the fourth wife of sultan Abdulhamid and mother of Mustafa IV (1807-08). She lived (1761-1828)

1808-17 Naksh-i-Dil Valide Sultan
She was political influential as advisor of her husband, Abdulhamid I 1733-73 and his successor, Sultan Selim III 1773-1789. Also very powerful under reign of son, Mahmud II (1808-39), she lived (1768-1817)

1808-39 Politically Influential Princess Esma Sultan
Became very influential when her brother, Mahmud II, came to the throne after a period of revolts by the Janissaries and a succession of Sultans within few years. During her marriage to Kaptan-ı Derya Küçük Hüseyin Pasha, a close friend of Sultan Selim III, she held quite important influence over the society. He died in 1803 and she never married again. She was daughter of Sultan Abdulhamid I and Kadın Efendi Ayşe Seniyeperver Sultan, and lived (1778-1848).

1839-53 Bezmrâlem Valide Sultan
The widow of Mahmud II, she was also known as Daulatlu Ismatlu Bazim-i Alam Validi Sultan 'Ahiyat us-Shan Hazratlari, she was mother of Abdülmecid I (1839-61) and lived (1807-52)

1861-76 Pertherhiyal Valide Sultan
Also known as Nihal, she was the second widow of Mahmud II, she was mother of Murad

1876-87 Rahime Perestu Valide Sultan
Mother Abdülhamid II (1876-1909) No Valide under the last sultans.

.... Shevka-efza Valide Sultan
She was widow of Abdülmecid and mother of Murad V.

 

 

Last update 17.07.09