The commander of the Ottoman navy. He was born in Hungary in 1515. It is rumored that he had Croatian descendants. His father received the name Abdurrahman, by being a Muslim later. Piyale Mehmet was given to the Enderun (T.N. military school) at an early age as a child recruited during the Mohaç Expedition (1526). After having completed his training in the palace as a Door Guard, he served in Gallipoli Sanjak (T.N. District) Governorship. He took the title Kaptan-ı Derya (T.N. Chief Admiral) by being raised to the Navy Admiral in his forties. During the period of his Chief Admiralship, the Ottoman Navy (Donanma-yı Hümayûn) dominated the Mediterranean largely with the Algeria Navy. The request of the mother of the King of France, François II, who asked for help from Kanûnî Sultan Süleyman during those years and the matter of balance policy towards European countries, the navy under the command of Piyale Pasha made sail in 1555. The given tasks were fulfilled in this sail in which also Turgut Reis participated and the Ottoman Navy made many conquests. The conquest of the various ports in the Mediterranean continued in the following two years.
Piyale Pasha connected the whole Balearic Islands to the Ottoman rule in 1558, with Turgut Reis. As the previous ones, the Spanish, who had the strongest navy of that period, could never come across Piyale Pasha. However, the Spaniards were preparing to put an end to the domination of the Ottoman in the Mediterranean with the encouragement of the Second Philip, the King of Spain and the Pope and they were waiting for the opportunity to deal bigger blows after the receipt of the Castle of Djerba that was used as a station by the Ottomans in the first months of 1560.
The Ottoman navy under the command of Piyale Pasha acted and arrived in Djerba on May 9th 1560 and was quick to give the required lesson to the Spaniards. The sea battle of Djerba, which was one of the history's greatest naval battles that Turgut Reis could reach 3 days later, Piyale Pasha devastated the Crusader armada within a couple of hours with the gifted Ottoman under his command. The half of the Crusader ships sunk in this battle where the Ottomans won an important victory.
He was greeted with great ceremony in Istanbul where he returned with the re-conquest of the castle Djerba. The navy welcomed Kanûnî Sultan Süleyman Khan, who was in the Presidential Palace with the viziers and the ambassadors, by firing all the guns blank cartridge. Upon this majestic view, Kanûnî aided his famous words:
"Here, man shouldn’t get proud by seeing all of these, he should thank to God by thinking that everything happens with his permission.”
Soon after having returned from this magnificent military expedition, Piyale Pasha became a son-in-law of the Ottoman Palace by getting married the daughter of the prince Selim (Selim II), Gevher Han Sultan.
Kanûnî Sultan Süleyman ordered the preparation of Malta expedition to the Piyale Pasha after the victory of Djerba. Due to bad weather conditions and the shooting of Turgut Reis in the battles where he served, he had to return to Istanbul because continuing to the first encompassment of the Malta became impossible. Piyale Pasha was appointed to the Dome Vizier position in 1568 and became the first sailor, who got the rank of a vizier and he commanded the navy in the Cyprus expedition as a vizier. Piyale Pasha, who greatly served the commander-in-chief (Serdar-ı Ekrem) Lala Mustafa Pasha in the conquest of Cyprus that took place during the reign of Selim II Khan on 1st August 1571, with 360 pieces of ships including 180 galleys, 10 barges and 170 small sea ships and by disembarking the 60,000 soldiers to Cyprus, marched to the sea for the last time in 1573. Shortly after having received the title of the second vizier, he died in Istanbul on January 21st 1578. His tomb is located next to the mosque he got built in Kasımpaşa.
Piyale Pasha, who won great victories in the Ottoman army as the Chief Admiral from 1553 to 1567; who took the Chios and Djerba Islands, completed the seizure of Algeria, seized nearly 67 island in Spain, Italy and France coasts, took the famous commanders as prisoners by weakening the fleets of King Philip II of Spain, is one of the most brilliant figure in Ottoman history.
Piyale Pasha, who served as the Chief Admiral for fourteen years during the Kanûnî Sultan Süleyman era and won significant victories, is remembered not only with his high success he acquired in the navy as the Chief Admiral and Vizier, but also with the mosques and Islamic social complexes he got built in the various districts of Istanbul; Eyüp, Kasımpaşa, Mercan and Üsküdar and out of Istanbul, island of Chios and Kilitbahir. His name was given to the schools in various cities especially in Istanbul and in a large tunnel that was opened in 2009 in Istanbul, (Kâğıthane-Piyale Paşa Tunnel).
The architect of the famous Piyale Pasha Complex, got built by Piyale Pasha in 1573 in Istanbul-Kasımpaşa, was our famous architect Mimar Sinan, the construction of the complex was done in the same year with the Selimiye Mosque. Only the mosque and the mausoleum have survived to the present day from this complex that consisted of Mosque, elementary school, a hamam (T.N. Turkish Bath), a public fountain, lodge, mausoleums and bazaar.
The mihrab of the mosque covered with İznik ceramic tiles with flower motifs and the tile verse belt on the cove frame that carries the dome added color to the architectural aesthetics of the mosque. The writings of this verse belt are the works of Çerkez Hasan Çelebi. The minbar is extremely simple comparing to the marble decoration of the mihrab. There are the tombs of thirteen people in the mausoleum built on the octagonal plan, including three sarcophaguses and ten marble sarcophaguses, where also the founder of the complex, Piyale Pasha was buried. There is another mosque built in Kasımpaşa called the Küçük Piyale. He also got built a mosque in the island of Chios where he subjugated.