Köprülüzade Fazıl Mustafa Paşa

Osmanlı Devlet Adamı, Osmanlı Sadrazamı

20 Ağustos, 1691

Statesman and grand vizier (B. 1638, Vezirköprü – D. 20th August 1691,Slankamen). He was the middle son of Köprülü Mehmet Pasha and the brother of Köprülü Fazıl Ahmet Pasha. He took a good madrasah education after having gone to Istanbul when he was four years old. He became a part of the supreme court of the Ottoman Empire (1676) as the seventh vizier (minister) in the period of Kara Mustafa Pasha, who became grand vizier (prime minister) after the death of his brother Köprülü Fazıl Ahmet Pasha. He worked as the sixth vizier, as the district governor of the grand vizier in Edirne during the Vienna Expedition, as the governor of Silistre and as the commander-in-chief. He came to Istanbul in 1684 as the vizier of the dome and he moved up into the third vizierate in several months, however, he resigned. He worked as the guardsman of Chios and Çanakkale. When his uncle Abaza Siyavuş Pasha became the grand vizier, he was assigned as the district governor of the grand vizier (October 1687). He was suspended from Istanbul after Mehmed IV was enthroned.

The years in which Köprülü Fazıl Mustafa Pasha moved up in the government service were the most depressed years of the sultanate of Sultan Mehmed IV. He was a cultured, intelligent, foreseeing statesman with a good education, just like his brother. He became a mudarris (T.N. lecturer), he was assigned as the governor of Silistre and as the commander-in-chief of Babadağı with the degree of vizier in 1680. The empire was considerably wore down and the internal and external authority of the state was damaged within the period starting from the event that Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha, who was the grand vizier and Serdar-ı Ekrem (the grand vizier who directs the expedition as the commander-in-chief when the sultan doesn’t participate to the expedition), was put to death (25th December 1683) in Belgrade in the days after the defeat of Vienna, until the time Buda and Athena were captured.

Fazıl Mustafa Pasha, who was assigned as the grand district governor by Mehmed IV in the last days of his sultanate, achieved to dethrone the sultan who was the sultan for the last 39 years, in a bloodless manner. The territorial loss of the Ottoman Empire continued during the following 2 years, starting from this time until he became the grand vizier. The German armies started to threaten Macedonia, Albania and Bulgaria after the defeats of Batucina and Niş. These places were captured in the time of Murad Hüdavendigâr I and Muslims were the majority in those places. The board of sultanate assembled by Süleyman II in Edirne decided that the only person that would be able to establish the authority on the army, government and public would be Köprülü Fazıl Mustafa Pasha.

Fazıl Mustafa Pasha was called to Edirne from his duty of guardsman of Chios and he was brought to the grand vizierate in place of Bekri Mustafa Pasha on 25th October 1689 and he asked the sultan for the same large authorities to be given to his father and brother. Süleyman II accepted this request. This situation frightened and pushed around the internal tyrants in the first step and also worried the Europeans. The fifty-one-year-old grand vizier prevented the cutting of low grade coins (metallic money) by resolving the injustice in the tax system as his first work. He made efficient changes in the organization of the army and the state by transferring the fortunes gained with illegal winnings to the public treasury. Furthermore, he sent the gold and silver properties belonging to the palaces of the Köprülü family to the mint and he made them cut into coins, then he granted these coins to the state and he also ensured that the sultan would act also the same way.

By this way, after reinforcing the treasury and finishing the needed preparations, Fazıl Mustafa Pasha went to an expedition from Edirne on 13th July 1690 and captured back Widdin, Nish, Smederevo and Belgrade in several months. Especially the fact that he captured the Belgrade Fortress in such a short time as one week, surprised many. Besides, he reinforced the border (borderline) fortresses. He utilized all the potentials of the state to enable the return of the rayah (villagers), who were obliged to immigrate because of the war, to their former places and enabled them to continue their agriculture activities. When the grand vizier returned to Istanbul, the sultan rewarded him by making him wear his fur. While the Crimean Kazakhs were ransacking the inner Russia, the Turks took a large territory from Vardar to Drava belonging to Austrians.

Fazıl Mustafa Pasha, who spent the months of winter in Istanbul to make the army complete its deficiencies, left Edirne with the army in June 1691 in order to take back Transylvania. Before going to the road, he arrested some ulamas who wanted the enthronization of Mehmed IV again and who tried to make a coup by taking advantage of the illness of Süleyman II. However, the sultan, who came to Edirne from Istanbul to send off the army, deceased eight days later.

Köprülü Fazıl Mustafa Pasha was one of the important statesmen of the XVII. century. One year later, he was charged with the guardianship of the Chios island because of the war proceeding with Venice. He was promoted to the second vizierate during the time (1687) of the grand vizierate (Prime Minister) of Siyavuş Pasha. He played a role in the change of sultanate in Istanbul. However, when he turned against the soldiers afterwards, he was suspended from the capital with the duty of the guardianship of Seddülbahir. The decree asking his murder was rejected by the opposition of the shaykh al-islam and the protection of the sultan and he was assigned to the guardianship of Chania, Heraklion, and then again Chios. During this time, the defeats and territorial losses that started after the Defeat of Vienna became dramatic and continuous. The armies of the Austrian-German Empire arrived to Skopje by capturing Belgrade and pressed in upon Bulgaria. The Balkan territories, which were captured by Murad Hüdâvendigâr and which became Turkish and Muslim geographical regions, were about to get lost.

The new grand vizier Fazıl Mustafa Pasha started with publishing a declaration in order to improve the morale of the public and encourage the soldiers to new futures. He took the following precautions in order to improve the economic condition: he regenerated the coin (metallic money), he removed the officially fixed price (determination of the price of goods and services by the community) and declared that the trade would be free. He removed the heavy taxes taken from the community. The resm-i hamr (the liquor taxes), which was augmented during the war and caused the reaction of the Christian population and their collaboration with the enemy, was one of them. On the other hand, the preparations of the expedition to be done in spring were maintained speedily. They went to an expedition again in May 1961.

In this while, the sultanate changed in Istanbul and Ahmed II became the sultan after the death of Süleyman II. Fazıl Mustafa Pasha, who continued to advance with his army, started to follow the Austrian army that was between Petrovaradin and Zemun. Fazıl Mustafa Pasha was martyred with a bullet coming to his front in the war made in front of the Salankamen Block (Küçük Kale) on 20th August 1691. The fact that the grand vizier was martyred and that the chamberlain (aider, steward) could not hide this fact, turned the direction of the war against the Ottoman forces and the Slankamen Pitched Battle was lost. The corpse of Fazıl Mustafa Pasha was not found despite all the searches.

Köprülü Fazıl Mustafa Pasha, who was in power for almost two years, took charge in a very critical period of the state and showed the ability to change the country’s situation from becoming chronic. He was an example to the sultan and to the other statesmen with what he accomplished. Our history mentioned of him as a wise, virtuous, righteous and dignified statesman. It is known that he was a strong scientist in the sciences of hadith and lexicology.    


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