Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Paşa

Osmanlı Sadrazamı, Hattat

01 Ekim, 1730

Ottoman grand vizier, calligrapher (B.1670, Nevşehir –D. October 1st, 1730, Istanbul). He was the son of Ali Ağa, the Voivode of Ezdin (today in Greece). During the reign of Ottoman Sultan Ahmed III, he served as grand vizier for about thirteen years. He was one of the pioneers of the innovations made in the Tulip Period. In 1689, in Istanbul where he went to find a job, he started to work in the court kitchen by the favor of the former expense clerk of the court, Mustafa Efendi. Then, he started to work at the department of the old court axeman. Before Ahmed III became the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, İbrahim served under him. İbrahim Efendi moved up step by step thanks to his intelligence and knowledge. After Ahmed became the sultan, he was appointed as the clerk of Darüssaade Aga (1703). While he was in charge, he gained the trust and favor of the sultan.

When the Grand Vizier Silâhtar Damat Ali Pasha went on Morea expedition in 1715, he took along İbrahim Efendi as an attendant in charge of monetary affairs related to war, such as fief fee foundation income. After Morea was conquered, he was tasked with clerkship there. Upon the failure of the siege of Petrovaradin in 1716, he was sent to Edirne by the army in order to inform the sultan about this matter. Ahmed III, who placed his trust on him, did not send İbrahim Efendi back, and charged him with the responsibility of the office that dealt with the recording of the daily income and expense of the state. A few days later, he was appointed as the deputy of the former grand vizier on the 3rd of October, 1716.

            After Silâhtar Damat Ali Pasha, who was married to daughter of the sultan, Fatma Sultan, was martyred in the Austro-Ottoman War in 1717, İbrahim Efendi got married to Fatma Sultan and became the groom of the court. He was assigned as the grand vizier in 1718. After he became the grand vizier, he concluded the Treaty of Passarowitz with Austria. In the same year, he made a peace with the Venetians. During his grand viziership which lasted for thirteen years, the Ottoman went to a war with Iran, then the state entered a peaceful environment.

            Along with the innovations made during his grand vizier years, his period was a peaceful and dissipation period that is called as “Lale Devri” (the Tulip Period). İbrahim Pasha, with the thought of “Let’s make peace for the moment, we will overcome our deficiencies and get the things we lose, in the future,” concluded the Treaty of Passarowitz, and started a quiet period befitting the character of the sultan. This period was a period which was glamorized with the tulip gardens, dissipation of the Çırağan Palace, halva conversations, and the poems by the famous poet Nedim. In addition to this, with his efforts, the first printing house and industrial enterprises were established.

            He was a statesman who was competent on state affairs, sophisticated, moderate, grateful, and appreciative of the intelligent people. One of his unknown aspects was that he was a member of the Malamatiyya Tariqa. As he had a financial background, he tried to improve the financial and economic power of the state. He set about a great development thrust. For the first time in the Ottoman history, he made attempts to get closer to the Western civilization. With his wife, Fatma Sultan, he established a Darülhadis (training center) near the Şehzade Mosque in Istanbul, snuggeries for students, public fountain, and a library. Besides, he changed the Muşkara village of Niğde, where he was born, into a district by populating some people from other places and tribes there, and expanded the town with a rampart. Naming this place as Nevşehir instead of Muşkara, he built two mosques, one madrasah, and imaret for the students of the madrasah and poor people.

            Hearing that the rare books that the bookstores had in Istanbul were cheaply bought and sent to Europe, he banned the leave of those books from the country and founded libraries. Apart from this, he established a tile and haircloth factory, and a fabric factory named Hatayi. In the Tulip Period, the parks and gardens were established by him. These gardens were devastated with the Patrona Halil Uprising in 1730, and the similar gardens were seen in Europe later.

   İbrahim Pasha was an astute, generous, modest, farsighted, and benevolent person, and he supported innovations. He was also famous for protecting ulamas, poets, scholars, and artists of the time. He looked after his relatives’ benefits, and tried to keep the people he saw as rivals out of the palace. He was interested in history and fine arts. He occupied himself with calligraphy, and practiced thuluth and naskh of Hafız Osman. His favorite book was Naîmâ Târihi. lkdü'l-cümân fî târihi ehli'z- zamân by Aynî, Matla'u's-sa'deyn'i by Abdürrezzâk es-Semerkandî, Habîbü's-siyer by Hândmîr were translated in the time of İbrahim Pasha. The translations from Aristotle made by Yanyalı Esad Efendi were dedicated to him, as well. A thirty-two-person committee of science consisting of scholars and clerks, which could be assumed as the academy of the time, was formed at the time of his grand viziership, in Istanbul, in 1725.

            Although Damat İbrahim Pasha tried to reconstruct the country, fix the economy, and get closer to the Western Civilization, and contributed to the establishment of the first printing house, he could not take fundamental precautions against the dangers the country faced with. At the time of his grand viziership, Russia broke the Treaty of the Pruth and started to attack Poland and the Ottoman borders; Iran, under the reign of Nader Shah, captured Kermanshah and Tabriz. Then, Ottomans decided to wage war against Iran. Both the results of the political events and the economic depression caused social unrest in the country. On the other hand, imposing a new tax every day, the unemployment in Istanbul resulted from the migrations were increasing the discontent, especially among the poor people, against İbrahim Pasha and his relatives, who were having a good time every day in different places. Consequently, İbrahim Pasha was drawn into the Patrona Halil uprising. During this rebellion, sultan Ahmed III was toppled from the throne, Shaykh al-Islām, poet Nedim, and Damat İbrahim Pasha were killed. With the death of Damat İbrahim Pasha, the Tulip Period ended. His grave is near the public fountain in Istanbul, Şehzadebaşı.

            The rumor that this incident was the punishment of the cases which were contrary to the understanding of Islam is not true. Sources tell us that Patrona Halil and his mates committed these murders not with the intent of serving Islam but with the intent of satisfying their personal grudge and interests. When Damat İbrahim Pasha was killed, the Tulip Period also ended. 


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