Lettre de Soliman à François Ier concernant la campagne de Nice, 1543, rouleau de papier crème collé sur toile, encre noire, poudre d’or, 108 x 48 cm, Paris, BNF (©Bibliothèque nationale de France) (letter from Suleiman to François Ier about the Siege of Nice, 1543)
The Franco-Ottoman alliance, also Franco-Turkish alliance, was an alliance established in 1536 between the king of France Francis I and the Turkish ruler of the Ottoman Empire Suleiman the Magnificent. The alliance has been called “the first non-ideological diplomatic alliance of its kind between a Christian and non-Christian empire”. It did however cause quite a scandal in the Christian world, and was designated as “the impious alliance”, or “the sacrilegious union of the Lily and the Crescent”; nevertheless, it endured since it served the objective interests of both parties. The strategic and sometimes tactical alliance was one of the most important foreign alliances of France and lasted for more than two and a half centuries, until the Napoleonic Campaign in Egypt, an Ottoman territory, in 1798–1801.
The Siege of Nice occurred in 1543 and was part of the Italian War of 1542–46 in which Francis I and Suleiman the Magnificent collaborated against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, and Henry VIII of England. At that time, Nice was under the control of Charles III, Duke of Savoy, an ally of Charles V.