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Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

A CONTRIBUTION TO THE HISTORY OF OTTOMAN–HABSBURG DIPLOMACY: NEW FINDINGS ON THE RATIFICATION PROCESS OF THE VASVAR TREATY OF 1664

Following the Peace of Zsitvatorok in 1606, Ottoman–Habsburg diplomatic relations underwent a gradual yet steady transformation. In 1606, the Ottoman and Habsburg delegations met on neutral ground at the mouth of the Zsitva River to negotiate a peace treaty that set the terms for diplomatic practice for the rest of the seventeenth century. The negotiated treaties, however, had to be ratified by the Habsburg and Ottoman monarchs to attain full effect. In some cases, the process of preparing the treaties (Ratifikation / ahidname) could involve numerous diplomatic missions and stretch out for years. In the case of the Treaty of Vasvar in 1664, however, the Habsburg ruler Leopold I (d. 1705) and the Ottoman sultan Mehmed IV (d. 1693) ratified and ceremoniously exchanged copies of the treaty in less than one and a half months. The secondary literature, however, especially studies on the Ottoman and Habsburg ambassadors exchanged in 1665, holds the incorrect view that the envoys who visited Vienna and Adrianople/Constantinople that year submitted the ratified versions of the Vasvar treaty to the Ottoman and Habsburg monarchs. In an attempt to reconstruct the ratification process of the Treaty of Vasvar historically, this paper brings together a wide collection of documents from the Prime Ministry Archives in Istanbul and the Austrian State Archives, as well as narrative sources from the period. Following its reconstruction of the ratification process, the paper examines the diplomatic and bureaucratic tools that enabled the relatively swift communication between the Ottoman and Habsburg offices (in contrast to much slower diplomatic proceedings in the first half of the seventeenth century) to offer an insight into the changing nature of the Ottoman early modern state.

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