Historian and statesman (1700, Rethymno, Crete / Ottoman Empire (Crete / Greece) – August 1783, Istanbul). His father’s name was Ibrahim. The name “Resmi” was used to refer to “Rethymnon”. He was brought up under the supervision of one of the Chief Clerks of the Imperial Ottoman Council Mustafa Efendi in Istanbul where he arrived to receive education. Later, he married the daughter of Mustafa Efendi. After completing his education, he became a public servant and worked as an overseer in Salonika, Istanbul, and Gallipoli powder mills respectively as well as under the control of chamberlains and foreign affairs. After serving Bursa and Salonika for a period, he was sent to Austria as an ambassador to announce accession of Mustafa III in 1757. Later, he was appointed as an officer of collection of biographies for the financial affairs and the Accountant for Anatolia.
He was sent to Berlin by the Ottoman sultan who had heard of the reformations made by the Prussian King Frederick, II in Prussia, as an ambassador to review the risks to be brought to the Ottoman Empire by the convergence between Prussia and Russia and to give a guarantee to the Polish people under the hegemony of the Ottoman Empire on his way to Berlin in 1763. Thus, he became the first Berlin Ambassador of the Ottoman Empire.
It is said that during the conversation of Resmi Efendi with Frederick, II, the King made three key suggestions to him:
“1- Read history much and benefit from the previous experiences. 2- Try to have a strong army and have your soldiers subject to continuous education during the time of peace. 3- Let your treasure be full of golden coins and attach importance to the economy.”
When Ahmed Resmi Efendi returned to Istanbul after completing his mission, he was appointed as the Chamberlain of the Grand Vizier (Prime Minister) Moldovanî Ali Pasha on November 23, 1769, considering his knowledge and capability in state affairs; however, he had to return to his previous position due to the change of the grand vizier. Due to his close acquaintance of Europe during the Russo-Turkish War in which he was involved as the officer of agenda, he was appointed as the chamberlain of the grand vizier again in February 24, 1771. He participated in the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca negotiations as the chief deputy with the capacity of the official signatory of the Sultan during his commission. As soon as he returned to Istanbul, he was dismissed from this commission and served in various positions at the imperial palace. He passed away at night on August 31, 1783 and buried in Istanbul Karacaahmet Cemetery.
He made history by inauspiciously presiding the Ottoman Council during the negotiations and execution of the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca; however, he fulfilled important duties as the ambassador in Vienna and Berlin. As well as his statesman personality, he was also a significant author renowned for his “Sefaretname” and his biographic works about the chamberlains and Chief Black Eunuchs of the Ottoman Seraglio.
Resmî Ahmed Efendi is the second most important author of ambassador diaries in the 18th century. In particular, the sections containing impressions from Berlin and the route in his work “Sefaretname” resemble the experiences of the first Paris Ambassador of Turkey, Yirmisekiz Mehmed Çelebi, who was sent to Paris in 1720, and these two works complement each other. Both of the authors found out about the theatre (in their words, “dream houses called comedy”) and had difficulties in accommodating themselves to such places where men and women entertained together. Just like the Parisians, Berliners watched Ahmed Resmi Efendi, who was the first Turkish person that they ever saw, with his larger quilted turban, robe, and pompous subordinates, with interest through their windows.
Resmî Ahmed Efendi wrote his first ambassador diary during his embassy duty in Vienna. However, his most important diary is the work called “Prusya Sefaretnamesi”. In this work, he mentioned his sights until he arrived in Berlin from Istanbul, including the geographic, architectural, and human features, and secured more space to his sights from Berlin and Potsdam. His reviews about the education and instruction of the Prussian army were important. Vienna and Berlin diaries of Resmi Ahmed Efendi were published in Istanbul for a few times as well as in Berlin after having been translated into German. It was published within the series of “1001 Basic Works” released by Tercüman in 1980 for the last time. The diaries of Resmi Ahmed Efendi have an unsophisticated and pleasant style.
Viyana Sefaretnamesi (the first edition in Istanbul in1804, the second edition in 1887, and translated into German by J.V. Hammer in 1809), Prusya Sefaretnamesi (the first edition in 1804 and the second edition in 1886. Istanbul). The work was translated into German by Willig Bolland. In Berlin, 1809 and Warsaw 1825), Lâyiha (his insights about the interstate relations at the end of the 18th century), Coğrafya-yı Cedîd'i (The translation that he made upon returning from Prussia. Located in Süleymaniye Library), Halifet-ür-Rüesa (the biographies and life stories of the chamberlains from Celâlzade Mustafa Çelebi to Ragıp Pasha, Istanbul, 1853), Hamilet-ül-Kübera (biographies and life stories of 39 Chief Black Eunuchs of the Ottoman Seraglio, not published), el-İstînâs fî Ahvâli'l-Efrâs (about the nature and the traits of horses, due to the Grand Vizier Bahir Mustafa Pasha’s fondness of horses, expressing the affection for the horses in phrases, proverbs, and couplets in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, located in the Istanbul University Library), Hülasat-ül-İtibar (insights, impressions, and critics about 1768-74 Russo-Ottoman War, written in 1781). It was published in Istanbul for three times, in 1869, 1890, and 1899. It was also translated into German. Berlin 1813), Zülâliyye (Arabic proverbs), Luğaz (Arabic).
REFERENCE: Faik Reşit Unat / Osmanlı Sefirleri ve Sefâretnâmeleri (Yay. Bekir Sıtkı Baykal, 1968), Bekir Kütükoğlu / “Ahmed Resmî” (Küçük Türk İslâm Ansiklopedisi, 1974), Bilge Ercilâsun / “Ahmed Resmî Efendi’nin Türk Yenileşme Tarihindeki Yeri” (Atsız Armağanı, 1976), Hüseyin Gazi Yurdaydın / “Ahmed Resmî Efendi ve Bazı Düşünceleri” (Mustafa Reşid Paşa ve Dönemi Semineri Bildiriler, 1987), Büyük Türk Klasikleri (c. 7, s. 234-238, 1988), Bekir Kütükoğlu / “Ahmed Resmî” (TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi, c. 2, s. 121-122, 1989), Behçet Necatigil / Edebiyatımızda İsimler Sözlüğü (13. bas. S. 267, 1989), İhsan Işık / Yazarlar Sözlüğü (1990, 1998) - Türkiye Yazarlar Ansiklopedisi (2001, 2004) – Encyclopedia of Turkish Authors (2005) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007) – Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).