It would have been better for the empire if
Ibrahim had remained childless. But Kösem was determined to hold
power as long as possible. She employed a man named Cinci Hoca (Keeper
of the Djinns) to concoct various herbs of fertility .Perhaps they
were all too effective; Ibrahim had six sons, one after another.
Taıes of Ibrahini's madness spread over the empire, fınally provoking
the janissaries to mutiny; they marched to the Gates of Felicity
and de- manded the sultan's head. Kösem pleaded with them for several
hours. She surrendered when they promised not to kill him but instead
to put him back in the Cage. Confıned once again, Ibrahim became
a raving lunatic. His cries pierced through the thick walls day
and night. Ten days after his incarceration, he was strangled by
order of the Mufti (the head imam, or Moslem priest). Ibrahim's
seven-year~old son, Mehmed, by Turhan Sultana, became the new sultan.
Kösem had no intention of relinquishing the offıce of valide to
Turhan, and she refused to move to the House ofTears. She schemed
to have Mehmed poisoned, so that she could elevate to the throne
a young orphan prince whom she could manipulate. A war of two sultanas
began. The year was 1651. The janissaries supported Kösem, but the
new grand vizier, Köprülü Mehmed Pasha, and the rest of the palace
administration favored Turhan.
Kösem conspired to admit the janissaries into the harem one night
to dis- patch the young sultan and his mother .But Turhan had been
informed about this conspiracy .Kösem found herself facing the eunuchcorps
instead, supporters ofTurhan, who demanded her life. She went mad,
stuffıng her precious jewels into her pockets and fleeing through
the intricate mazes of the harem, which she knew better than any-
one. She crept into a small cabinet, hoping that the eunuchs would
go past her and the janissaries come to the rescue. But a piece
of her skirt caught in the door, betraying her hiding place. The
eunuchs dragged her out, tearing her clothes, stealing her jewels.
She fought; but she was an old woman now . One of her attackers
strangled her with a curtain. Her naked, bleeding body was dragged
outside and flaunted before the janissaries. Kösem had enjoyed the
longest reign of any of the harem women, almost half a century .But
she died in horror and abject loneliness. Turhan triumphed. Her
son a child, she assumed absolute power. While she was well liked
in the harem, Turhan was a simple woman, unsophisticated in state
affairs. With her death in ı687, the Reign ofWomen came to an end.