In the 13th century, Anatolia became an important center of education, science, culture and civilization. Anatolian Seljuks began to equip Anatolian cities with madrasas, mosques, imarets, public baths and caravanserais in order to turn the land into a Muslim Turkish country.
Emir Celâleddin Karatay, who served for forty years in the Anatolian Seljuk State, is one of the most important statesmen of the Turkish history. He served in various offices of the State.
Celâleddin Karatay was taken to the court to carry out the palace services during the reign of Alaaddin Keykubad. He served the Sultan for seventeen years and following the death of Alaaddin Keykubad, he ran state affairs in the most chaotic period of Anatolian Seljuks. Baba İshak rebellion led to civil war in Anatolia, and after the rebellion hundreds of Turkmens were arrested. Emir Karatay declared a general amnesty and released these Turkmens to establish internal peace in the country.
He was the Atabeg of three Sultans at the same time. For this reason he was called "Father of Sultans". He maintained negotiations with Mongolian invaders for five years and this helped Ertugrul Bey to establish his own state in western Anatolia which flourished as Ottoman Empire.
When he died near Kayseri in 1254, he was on a mission to meet Mongolian invaders. His tomb is in Karatay Madrasa, Konya. He was a man in the service of his State and his people. He built Karatay Madrasa in Konya, a caravanserai in Kayseri and a zawiya in Antalya.
According to the epitaph of the Karatay Madrasa, Emir Celaleddin Karatay built it on behalf of three Sultans: Keykavus II, Kilicaslan IV and Keykubad II. When Celâleddin Karatay completed the madrasa he ordered a great meeting where Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi also attended.
Karatay Madrasa, established in 1251 by Emir Celâleddin Karatay, continued its education and training activities until 1914, without any interruption. During the Anatolian Seljuks, it was a foundation university. In 2009, The Konya Chamber of Commerce revived this madrasa with a new name: KTO Karatay University. Thus, we are proud to say that our university was founded in 1251.