By: Mir M.Hosseini
Shah Abbas marched from Isfahan towards Ardebil on Oct, 17, 1613. His next stop was Karabagh in a campaign to take control of the Iranian side of Georgia, especially Kartli, Kakheti and Meskheti where revolts had broken out. It seemed crucial for Shah Abbas to take control of the Iranian share of Georgia during peace negotiations with the Ottoman Empire.
When the Safavid Army set foot in Georgia, revolting Loarsab Khan and Tahmoures Khan fled to the Ottoman-controlled side of Georgia. They found refugee at the court of Gorgin Khan; the Beylerbeygi of Ottoman Georgia. Loarsab Khan surrendered in early 1614 but Tahmoures engaged in a bloody hit and run strategy supported by Gorgin Khan, rendering the peace negotiations between the two empires volatile.
The Ottoman Vezir and the main supporter of peace negotiations with Persia; Nasuh Pasha was charged with treason and he was executed on Oct, 18, 1614 and Mohammad Pasha, the Beylerbeygi of Egypt replaced him.
While Shah Abbas was returning to Isfahan in April 1615, Sultan Ahmet deployed his new Vezir at the head of a great army to Azarbaijan. In coordination, rebel forces under Davoud Bey of Georgia joined the Ottoman forces against the Iranian army. They ambushed a contingent of Kizilbash forces commanded by famous Esfandiar Bey Omarbekrloo and killed most of them. Then they started a massacre of Shia citizens in Georgia and destroyed many Safavid settlements.
Shah Abbas marched in anger from Guilan towards Georgia in March, 1616. His revenge was brutal. More than 70,000 Ottomans and Georgians were reportedly killed and around 30,000 young Georgians were taken slave.
Although history cannot be judged, yet this massacre of Georgians cannot be justified and was a cause to disadvantage and unpopularity of the Safavid in Caucasia in the long run, the blood on their hands remains as a big stain in the Iranian History.