Imperial Divan of Sultan Mehmed II


Topic Summary

Topic: Expansion of the Ottoman Empire

Before Istanbul, it was Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Before Mehmed the Conqueror, he was Mehmed II, a 19 year old Sultan of a then-young throne. Before it became an empire, the Ottoman State was a small principlate, merely one of the dozens of pieces that had born from the ashes of a previous nation.

We have all heard some piece of the story of the Ottoman Empire: enormous wars, scandalous politics, unyielding rulers. Yet none of these tales by themselves can answer the question that addresses the great mystery of the story: how did it all begin? How did a small principlate from the villages of Anatolia rise to be a great empire with a reign that spanned over 600 years and 3 continents? How did it manage to do what all the other Turkic principalities could not? How did it defeat Byzantium, which was not only significantly stronger, but also richer in its history and contemporary institutions?

We will be addressing these questions and more as we try to simulate the early years of the Dîvân-ı Hümâyûn, the imperial council of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and, thus, construct a great empire from its foundations.

Director’s Letter

Dear Delegates,

Welcome to the Imperial Divan of Sultan Mehmed II! My name is Ratip Emin Berker, and I can’t wait to meet and work with you all as the Committee’s 2020 HMUN director.

I’m a rising sophomore at Harvard. I have no idea what I am studying (feel free to give suggestions) but am currently considering Chemistry & Physics, although I am also interested in politics. I am originally from Istanbul, Turkey (the committee topic makes sense now, right?), and my favorite hobby can easily be singing Turkish songs off-key. I also have 17+ boxes of Turkish Delight in my room at any given time, so let me know if you need some (sharing is caring). Apart from MUN, I play the saxophone in the Harvard Marching Band. I am crazy about Marvel comics and movies; you can immediately win my heart by mentioning either. I am super excited about HMUN 2020 and can’t wait to see how the committee will tackle the (many) crises we will be throwing at them. Looking forward to meeting you all!

I first came to HMUN back in 2014, as a freshman in high school. I remember talking to my parents on the phone after my first day in conference, shouting “I am NEVER EVER doing MUN again in my life” (I must admit that jet lag had hit me quite hard). However, in the next 4 days, I quickly changed my mind, having so many fun moments in the committee and meeting with some amazing people. Now, 5 years, 30 conferences, and 4 HMUNs later, these amazing people I have met in that very first conference and in the later ones have become some of my closest friends, and I couldn’t be happier that I found the motivation to go on this journey with them all those years ago. HMUN is not only about the topics you get to discuss; it is also the people you get to discuss them with, and I assure you, the people make it worth every minute of it.

Do not stress out! Quite literally, there’s nothing you can lose in the committee, so don’t be afraid of making mistakes. All of us (and I really mean ALL of us) have had times where we gave speeches that did not go as we thought they would or conferences where we simply could not have the impact we wanted to have. It is these experiences that make a great delegate, and once you free yourself from the fear of failing, I assure you that those will be your most successful times. Sin boldly, and never forget to have fun!


Ratip Emin Berker

Director, Imperial Divan of Sultan Mehmed II

Harvard Model United Nations 2020