Melek Ahmed Pasha

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Damat
Melek Ahmed
Pasha
Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
In office
5 August 1650 – 22 August 1651
Monarch Mehmet IV
Preceded by Kara Murat Pasha
Succeeded by Abaza Siyavuş Pasha I
Personal details
Born c. 1604
Died 1662
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Nationality Ottoman
Spouse(s) Kaya Sultan (1644–59, her death)
Fatma Sultan (1662, his death)
Religion Sunni Islam
Ethnicity Abkhaz or Abazin

Melek Ahmed Pasha (c. 1604–1662) was an Ottoman statesman and grand vizier during the reign of Mehmed IV.

Early years[edit]

He was of Abkhaz (or Abazin) origin. According to one source, his father was a sea captain named Pervane.[1] During the reign of Murad IV, he was appointed as the governor of Diyarbakır. During Ibrahim's reign, he was appointed to the governorships of Erzurum, Mosul, Aleppo and Damascus. In 1644, he married to Kaya Sultan, Murad's daughter, and gained the title damat (groom). But all of the provinces (even Erzurum a part of Turkey) he was assigned, were quite far from Istanbul, the capital, and during most of his assignments, his wife stayed in Istanbul. During the reign of Mehmed IV, he finally returned to Istanbul as a vizier. But in 1650, to the dismay of his wife, he was appointed as the governor of Baghdad, another post far from Istanbul. Kaya Sultan tried to persuade the queen regent to revoke the decision. But she couldn't succeed, a sign of the chaos in Ottoman palace.[2] Nevertheless, before Melek Ahmed left Istanbul, the Grand Vizier Kara Murat Pasha resigned, complaining of the intrigues of the palace people. The queen regent offered the post to Melek Ahmed, who accepted the offer on the condition that the palace people would not meddle with the governance of the state on 5 August 1650.[3]

He was the brother-in-law of the Ottoman governor of Egypt from 1646 to 1647, Haydarzade Mehmed Pasha, who married his sister.

Grand Vizier[edit]

When Melek Ahmed took office, he realized that the empire was almost bankrupt. The Cretan War (1645–1669) was very costly, and tax revenues from Anatolia were much less than the expected amount because of the Jelali revolts. He attempted to balance the budget, but without a real knowledge of financial affairs, his economic measures worsened the economy instead of improving it. Among his measures was the debasing of coinage by reducing the gold content. This caused reactions among both the merchants and the soldiers, whose salaries were paid by the new coins.[4] The sultan was forced to relieve him of his post on 22 August 1651.

Later years[edit]

After 1651, he was again assigned as a provincial governor, but this time in Silistra (now in Bulgaria), much closer to capital. Soon, he was able to return to Istanbul. In 1654, Mustafa İbşir Pasha had been appointed as the Grand Vizier, but delayed his arrival in Istanbul. During this period, Melek Ahmed functioned as his deputy. This aroused İbşir Pasha's suspicions, and Melek Ahmed was exiled to Van and Malkara. However, after İbşir Pasha was deposed, Melek Ahmed Pasha was able to regain his former titles. After working in some provinces in the European part of the empire, he was married for a second time to Fatma Sultan (the daughter of the late sultan Ahmed I) in 1662. According to Evliya Çelebi, the marriage was unhappy and forced upon both parties; Fatma Sultan reportedly threatened Melek Ahmed Pasha with divorce and the withdrawal of her dowry (which was reportedly worth an entire year's tax revenue from the Egypt Eyalet).[5]

Melek Ahmed Pasha died in 1662, only months after marrying Fatma Sultan.

Aftermath[edit]

In the Ottoman Empire, the minting of devalued coinage continued after 1651 and provided the major reason for a wide-scale rebellion, the Çınar Incident, in 1656.

Evliya Çelebi and Melek Ahmed Pasha[edit]

Although not a particularly successful Grand Vizier, details about both Melek Ahmed Pasa and his wife Kaya Sultan (as well as his later marriage to Fatma Sultan) are well known because of Evliya Çelebi's books. Evliya Çelebi was one of the most important Turkish travel writers of his time, and his mother was the milk-sister of Melek Ahmed Pasha, and Evliya Çelebi used this opportunity to travel with Melek Ahmed Pasha.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ayhan Buz:Osmanlı Sadrazamları, Neden Kitap, İstanbul, 2009, ISBN 978-975-254-278-5 p.107
  2. ^ An essay on Ahmet Pasha (Turkish)
  3. ^ Joseph von Hammer:Osmanlı Tarihi Vol II (condensation: Abdülkadir Karahan), Milliyet yayınları, İstanbul. p 100
  4. ^ Prof.Yaşar Yücel-Prof Ali Sevim:Türkiye tarihi III, AKDTYKTTK Yayınları, 1991, pp 104-106
  5. ^ Evliya Çelebi (1 January 1991). The Intimate Life of an Ottoman Statesman, Melek Ahmed Pasha (1588-1662): As Portrayed in Evliya Celebi's Book of Travels (Seyahat-name). SUNY Press. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-7914-0640-3. 
  6. ^ On line history(Turkish)
Political offices
Preceded by
Kara Murat Pasha
Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
5 August 1650 – 22 August 1651
Succeeded by
Abaza Siyavuş Pasha I