Çandarlı Halil Pasha the Younger
|Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire|
1439 – 1 June 1453
|Preceded by||Koca Mehmed Nizamüddin Pasha|
|Succeeded by||Zaganos Pasha|
|Died||1 June 1453
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Çandarlı Halil Pasha (died 1 June 1453), known as the Younger, was a highly influential Ottoman grand vizier under the sultans Murad II and, for the first few years of his reign, Mehmed II (from 1439 to 1 June 1453 precisely). He was a member of the Çandarlı family, a highly influential political family in the Ottoman Empire. His grandfather and namesake, Çandarlı Kara Halil Hayreddin Pasha (Çandarlı Halil Pasha the Elder), also earlier served as grand vizier, under Murad I.
Halil Pasha was the fourth and penultimate member of the Çandarlı family to hold the position of grand vizier in the Ottoman Empire. His father, Çandarlı Ibrahim Pasha the Elder, his uncle, Çandarlı Ali Pasha, and his grandfather Çandarlı Halil Pasha the Elder had also held the position in the past. His own son, Çandarlı Ibrahim Pasha the Younger, would also become grand vizier in the future.
Twice during his reign, sultan Murad II, a man more interested in religion and the arts than politics, retired to the city of Manisa. For the sultan's protection, Halil Pasha had a castle built in a nearby town, renaming it Çandarlı after his own family (the castle is still the most famous landmark in Çandarlı today). During these times of Murad II's retirement, Halil Pasha held effective control of the empire in the capital Edirne with Mehmed II, then still a child, as the nominal sultan. On both occasions, with the dangers presented by allied European armies attacking Ottoman territories, Çandarlı called back Murad II and deposed the teenaged Mehmed II to replace him with his more capable father. These two incidents led to lasting resentment by Mehmed II towards Çandarlı. The fact that the Çandarlı family, which had become extremely wealthy from their influence in the empire for over a century, possibly more so than even the ruling Ottoman family itself, further strained tensions between Mehmed II and Halil Pasha, the scion of the Çandarlı family.
When Mehmed II became sultan, the Byzantine emperor Constantine XI sent a messenger to the Ottomans, asking for an increase of the annuity of Orhan or otherwise to release him. Orhan was a distant Ottoman family member and could claim himself as pretender for the throne and potentially start a civil war. This strategy of disruption was used by the Byzantines several times before. Halil Pasha became infuriated at the message and replied to the messengers:
You stupid Greeks, I have known your cunning ways for long enough. The late sultan was a lenient and conscientious friend to you. The present sultan Mehmed is not of the same mind. If Constantinople eludes his bold and impetuous grip, it will only be because God continues to overlook your devious and wicked schemes.
You are fools to think that you can frighten us with your fantasies when the ink on our recent treaty of peace is barely dry. We are not children without strength or sense. If you think that you can start something, do so. If you want to proclaim Orhan as sultan in Thrace, go ahead. If you want to bring the Hungarians across the Danube, let them come. If you want to recover places that you lost long since, try it. But know this: you will make no headway in any of these things. All that you will do is lose what little you have.
In 1453, one of the first acts committed by the (then fully reigning) Emperor Mehmed II immediately after the conquest of Constantinople was to execute Çandarlı Halil Pasha and confiscate his property. It is interesting to note that the city had been taken on 29 May 1453 and Halil Pasha's execution took place on 1 June 1453, suggesting that this design had been premeditated by the sultan long ago.
Mehmed II thus ended the Çandarlı era in the Ottoman Empire, and the later members of the family, whose descendants survive to the present day, became no more than provincial notables based in İznik, although they were to give yet another, short-term, grand vizier to the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 15th century (Halil's son Çandarlı Ibrahim Pasha the Younger).
Çandarlı Halil Pasha was, as such, the first Ottoman grand vizier to be executed by the sultan.
- Reşit Gürzap portrayed Halil Pasha in Turkish film İstanbul'un Fethi (1951).
- Halil Pasha is played by Erden Alkan in Turkish film Fetih 1453 (2012).
- İsmail Hâmi Danişmend, Osmanlı Devlet Erkânı, Türkiye Yayınevi, İstanbul, 1971, p. 10. (Turkish)
- The Last Centuries of Byzantium, 1261-1453, Donald M. Nicol, page 375, 1993
Koca Mehmed Nizamüddin Pasha
|Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire