Grand Vizier (B. 1755, Rusçuk – D. 16 November 1808, Istanbul). He is the son of Hasan Ağa, one of the Chief Janissaries of Rusçuk. Thanks to the success he showed in wars he participated as a standard-bearer, he was granted the nickname “Alemdar”. He became first Landed Proprietor of Hezergrad, later of Rusçuk. Although he helped the revolts against Nizam-ı Cedit in Edirne for a period, he gained the trust of the government and appointed Chief Porter and Barn Official. In Russia expedition, which was started by the end of Selim III’s period, he was granted the rank of Grand Vizier in 1806 and Seraskier of Danube Shore, since he could be useful to prevent Russian advance in Danube shores.
Alemdar Mustafa Pasha, who was not only a very brave and chivalrous but also a kind-hearted man, was not educated well because he was raised in Janissary House and therefore he was regarded as an ignorant person. Because of that he did not have a sufficient level of intelligence, knowledge and maturity to comprehend political streams and intrigues of the period and ensure certain interests. However, he managed to make the Sultan establish the Eşkinci House in order to bring an order to the Janissary House and therefore Janissaries became hostile to him suddenly.
Upon certain incidents, which occurred because of the Nizam-ı Cedit reforms started by Sultan Selim III, defenders of reform escaped from Istanbul to Rusçuk and sought refuge at Alemdar Mustafa Pasha. They encouraged the Pasha to go to Istanbul. Meanwhile Sultan Mustafa IV dethroned his uncle Selim III with Kabakçı Mustafa revolt and started to dismantle Nizam-ı Cedit reforms. Alemdar Mustafa Pasha who came to Istanbul on the 19th of July 1807 first attacked the house of Kabakçı Mustafa and executed him, then started a bloody cleanup operation among the rebels. Alemdar Pasha also attacked the Sublime Porte (Bâb-ı Âlî, center of the government) and took Mühr-i Hümayun (T.N. the imperial stamp) from the hands of Grand Vizier Çelebi Mustafa Pasha and removed him and Şeyhülislam Ataullah Efendi from their positions. On the 21st of July 1808 , he intended to dethrone Mustafa IV with 15.000 soldiers, throne Selim III again and reestablish Nizam-ı Cedid, as the Landed Proprietor of Rusçuk. Men of Kabakçı Mustafa, who heard about these plans, reached Selim III’s chamber before him, killed the Sultan who was playing nay at that time and sent his body to Mustafa Pasha.
His men warned Alemdar Mustafa Pasha who thought that his actions came to nothing about saving Sultan’s son Mahmud. Meanwhile Mustafa IV’s men reached Şehzade Mahmud’s chamber, but he was hiding in the roof. In the same time Alemdar Mustafa Pasha’s men arrived and saved the Sultan’s son. Alemdar Mustafa Pasha declared Şehzade Mahmud the new Sultan.
Alemdar Mustafa Pasha who was appointed Grand Vizier by the young Sultan who was 22 years old executed numerous people who were affiliated with the murder of Sultan Selim III. He helped the great reform that Selim III wanted to realize in the army.
During his Grand Viziership he realized essential reforms and cooperated with landed proprietors of Anatolia in order to strengthen the central authority. He reorganized the Nizam-ı Cedit House under the name of Sekban-ı Cedid. He determined people who were not soldiers in Kapıkulu houses but received salaries and realized a series of reorganizations and innovations.
However, after a short time he lost himself in the pleasure and entertainment environment of Istanbul. Alemdar who made great service to his country now became a man of pleasure. He liked countryside parties and dancers very much. People of Istanbul and especially Janissaries showed reaction to this situation of Alemdar and Janissaries showed their reaction rebelling against him after a while.
On the other hand, during Alemdar Mustafa Pasha’s Grand Viziership, his proponents started plunders so harsh that people even missed Kabakçı Mustafa rebels, which created a inquietude among people and shook the confidence in him. It was enough for Alemdar Mustafa Pasha to gain hostility of Janissaries that he established Nizam-ı Cedit (even under another name: “Sekban-ı Cedit”) which was opposed by them thinking that it could present an alternative to them, collected Janissary service payment cards called “esame” and burnt them in order to finance Nizam-ı Cedit and attempted to make an inspection of corruption in Janissary houses.
Finally in November 1808 the Janissary revolt started which passed to history as “Alemdar Incident”. During this revolt Janissaries burnt Alemdar’s palace. When there was no help from the Sultanate, Alemdar lost his hope; he ignited the gunpowder reservoir and died with about 600 Janissaries who tried to enter. Janissaries found his body after the fire and took it from street to street in Istanbul. Later they cut it into pieces and threw to a well outside of Yedikule. In 1911 his bones were taken from there and inhumed to a tomb in the garden of Zeynep Sultan Mosque across Hagia Sophia. The street from Soğukçeşme to Sultanahmet was named as Alemdar Street.