Statesman, grand vizier (B. 1527, Cairo – D. 1585, Acısu, Azerbaijan). He was from a Circassian Mameluke family. He was the son of Çerkez Özdemir Paşa, the conqueror of Habeşistan(today’s Ethiopia) and Yemen and daughter of last Abbasid caliphate in Cairo. It was rumored that he couldn’t speak until he was 6 years old and then he did speak very little even though he could. He went to Enderun Mektebi (Palace School).When he was fourteen years old, he became the head of Egypt Kulluk Ağası (T.N. Slavery Aga of Egypt), and after his success there he got promoted to Mirliva (colonel) when he was nineteen years old. Upon his father’s death (1561), he became the Beylerbeyi (T.N. Lord of Lords, provincial governor) of Habeşistan with the rank of Vizier. He stayed there for seven years and after he was dismissed of his duty there, he went back to Cairo/Egypt (1567). He was first appointed as the Governor of Sana after Yemen got out of Ottoman’s control and Ottoman lost control of the whole region except the Zebit vicinity. At the end of the same year, he was appointed as the Governor of Sara and Yemen, which were united under one beylerbeyi administration. Afterwards, he was sent to repress the uprising in Yemen and he showed great usefulness there with Koca Sinan Pasha.
Özdemiroğlu Osman Pasha became the Beylerbeyi of Yemen, Habeş, and Diyarbekir. He joined the army for Ottoman-Persian wars in the charge of Lala Mustafa Pasha and became the Beylerbeyi of Shirvan. With the help of Crimean Khan Mehmet Giray, he conquered all northern Azerbaijan until Karabakh, Mugan and Kızılağaç. He asked the Crimean Khan to go further but Giray Khan did not accept it and turned back to Crimea.
When he returned to Istanbul after the uprising of Yemen, he was appointed to a Sanjak (T.N. District governor) in Anatolia and then he was appointed to Niğde Sancakbeyliği (Sanjak lord). In 1573 he became the Beylerbeyi of Diyarbekir. After he remained there four years, he joined the army commanded by Serdar-ı Ekrem (T.N. Grand Vizier, greatest minister of the Sultan ) Lala Mustafa Pasha. Perfection of his troop units and his valor in the Battle of Çıldır led him become the Beylerbeyi of Shirvan, conquered in 1578. On 9th September 1578, he defeated the Persian army, which tried to drive Ottomans back from Persia, in the Koyun Geçidi Battle.
Özdemiroğlu spent five years in Caucasus fighting against the Persians. He strengthened the Ottoman rule in Shirvan, Northern Azerbaijan, Daghistan and Georgia. On 8th May 1583, he crushed the Persian army of seventy thousand soldiers in three days and three nights in the Battle of Torches. With this victory, it was then easier to conquer the southern parts of Kura River, which hadn’t been conquered up to then. At the same time, he dethroned the Crimean Khan Mehmet Giray and enthroned a new Khan, İslâm Giray, then he went to Istanbul on the ship of Kaptan-ı Deryâ (T.N. Captain of the Sea, Admiral of the Navy) Piyâle Pasha(1583). Osman Pasha appeared before the Sultan III Murat Han and presented the keys of the seventeen castles he conquered in Shirvan. When he told the Sultan about his victories against Persians and how he defeated Crimean Khan Mehmet Giray with a small force, he got the Sultan’s compliments and blessing: “In both worlds, have no cause to be ashamed and may God be pleased with you.”
Osman Pasha was first appointed as the Second Vizier and on 28th July 1584, he was appointed as the Grand Vizier in Doğu Serdarlığı (T.N. Eastern Division of the Empire). In September, 1584 he went to a campaign against the rising in Crimea. He spent the winter in Kastamonu as it got cold. In April 1585 he went to Erzurum and completed his preparations there and moved to Tabriz. Tabriz surrounded after a small resistance and got under the control of Ottoman. He left Tabriz on 27th October 1585 due to his illness. Since his illness got worse, he was moved in sedan chair until Şenb-i Gazan. The night he reached there, he died and was brought to Diyarbekir by his will and buried there.
Özdemiroğlu Osman Pasha, who spent more than forty years of his life alongside the borders, was a good commander and a unique administrator. It was very important that the reasons for why he maintained the Ottoman power in Habeşistan and he fought against the Persians were not reputation and fame, but the belief in holiness of serving the Empire. A lasting faith, a strong will, valor in commanding and dispatching his armies and steadfastness in hard times were his major characteristic features.