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Turkey buys Ottoman Sultan's portrait for $954,000

Turkey buys portrait of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II at London auction for $954K

Turkey’s commercial capital Istanbul has bought a portrait of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II , who conquered the city, for $975,000 at an auction in London yesterday.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu announced on Twitter that the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality bought the painting.

“A 15th century portrait of Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror was bought by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality at a live auction in London today,” Ekrem Imamoglu said.

The municipality’s winning bid amounted to £770,000 ($975,000) for the oil painting, which is believed to be the work of Italian painter Gentile Bellini in 1480, Christie’s auction house announced.

In a written statement published on its webpage, the municipality said the portrait will be returning home, to Istanbul, after many years.

Mehmed II is the Ottoman sultan who conquered Istanbul and earned the title of Fatih (the Conqueror). He was only 21 years old when he brought to an end the Byzantine Empire and later extended his conquests as far as Bosnia.

Mehmet is believed to have spoken Persian, Arabic, ancient Greek and Italian – which is viewed by many as a sign suggesting his desire to form an empire spanning the West and East alike.

READ: Will European protests prevent the Hagia Sophia Museum becoming a mosque? 

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