By: Mir M.Hosseini
Baghdad, once the capital of Arab Abbasi Caliphate, was one of the most important cities of the Muslim World. In the second half of the Medieval age, Turkic rulers (Seljuks, Kara Koyunlu, Ak Koyunlu ) as well as others always tried to control this prestigious city. In 1534, Ottoman Sultan Suleyman 1st (so called Suleyman the Magnificent) captured the city without any serious combat. However 90 years later it was captured by Shah Abbas 1st of Persia. Attempts of several Ottoman commanders to retake the city following 1624, were fruitless . According to a legend only the sultans could capture the city. In 1638 Ottoman Sultan Murat IV (five generation younger than Suleyman I) decided to recapture the city.
The Ottoman army covered this distance between Istanbul and Baghdad (about 1,600 kilometers) in 197 days with 110 staging stations in between. The siege began on Sep, 20, 1638. Ottoman forces were deployed against four main gates of the city. The commander of the defenders was Bektash Khan who wowed not to give Baghdad up without a fight till the last person. The siege continued for three months.
The Ottoman army staged several attacks all of which were fruitless. Meanwhile Sultan Murat sent his envoy to the Safavid court for negotiations that finally led to an agreement reached on Dec, 24 1638. According to this treaty signed by Shah Safi, the Ottomans accepted to recognize Erivan as part of the Iranian realm in exchange for Baghdad. The Persian army evacuated the city on Dec, 25 and returned to Hamedan.