Cezzar Ahmed Paşa

Vezir, Osmanlı Valisi, Devlet Adamı

23 Nisan, 1804

Statesman, Prefect and Grand Vizier (B. Stolac/Bosnia – D. 23 April 1804, Akkâ/Egypt). He is an Ottoman Grand Vizier famous with his defense of Akkâ citadel against Napoleon Bonaparte. His birth date is not certain and there are not many details about his father and family. Some state that he was born in Vidin or Nish but it is obvious that he was one of the Bosnian Muslims.

Cezzar Ahmed Pasha stayed in Egypt after Hekimoğlu Ali Pasha and worked with a commander named Abdullah Bey. When Abdullah Bey was killed around Urban, Cezzar Ahmed Pasha was assigned to sea discovery. Cezzar knew who killed his master Abdullah Bey, encouraged by whom. The organizer of the assassination was Büyük Ali Bey. Cezzar executed in one night around seventy people who were part of the assassination in various ways and sent their heads to Büyük Ali Bey. People who witnessed his revenge were frightened and named him Cezzar which means butcher. Ahmed Pasha carried this frightening name until the end of his life. He said to a friend who asked him whether he was angry being named in such a way; “Why should I be angry? If they call me butcher because I revenged a noble man like Abdullah Bey who helped me a lot and served my state it is an honor for me”.

Cezzar thought that Büyük Ali Bey would revenge him and received some news about it. He returned to Istanbul and disappeared for a while. After a while he entered the service of the Prefect of Damascus Osman Pasha. Meanwhile Tahir Ömer, Zeydan and Şahap families revolted in Syria and created problems for the state. The duty of quelling these revolts was granted to Cezzar Ahmed Pasha. He solved this complicated problem with many dimensions in a short time and found a solution without shedding blood. Upon this he was first granted Governorship and later Grand Vizier position by Istanbul. He was assigned to Prefecture of Sayda. Thus Cezzar Ahmed Pasha’s star started to shine (1776).

Ahmed Pasha after maintaining security in Syria was assigned to Damascus Prefecture and Commandership of Mecca (1785). However he did not live in Damascus, but in the Citadel of Akkâ which he deemed safer for himself. On the one hand he conducted official works on the other hand he lived with his soldiers and took care of their education and training. He united Damascus and Sayda prefectures in his personality and became the only sovereign in Syria. The most important issue for him was the perpetuation of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore he did not obey even orders from the palace if they did not comply with local realities. The Palace which heard about this disobedience moved him away from the prefecture but when it was clear that it was legitimate he was reassigned.

When Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt in 1798 Cezzar Ahmed Pasha was ordered to stop him being granted prefectures of Trablus, Damascus and Jerusalem. Sultan Selim III sent around 3000 Nizam-ı Cedit warriors from Istanbul in order to support Cezzar. Meanwhile the English fleet pressured Napoleon in Mediterranean. Cezzar stayed very tight in Akkâ Citadel until the help arrived and did not allow Napoleon’s soldiers to move.

Napoleon who realized that his luck was moving away in this war, suggested an agreement to Cezzar Ahmed Pasha. Cezzar refused this suggestion, which was repeated several times. Napoleon’s army believed it would defeat Cezzar. However Cezzar went out of the citadel with the Nizam-ı Cedit troop of 3000 warriors and disrupted the enemy lines which determined the destiny of the war. When the English fleet fired at French powers along the shore Napoleon stayed between two fires. He was defeated and escaped to Egypt. Upon the news of victory great feasts were organized in Istanbul. Cezzar’s name and victory was heard in the whole Ottoman country.

In this way he expected his assignment to Egypt expedition. But Grand Vizier Yusuf Ziya Pasha was assigned to this duty instead of him which disappointed him. It is stated that later he did not help Grand Vizier Yusuf Ziya Pasha on time because of this disappointment. That said Cezzar was now one of the commanders trusted by the state. The duty of quelling the Wahhabis in Hejaz was granted to Cezzar Ahmed Pasha. Cezzar became sick during preparations of expedition. Therefore he sent Süleyman Pasha instead of him. 

Cezzar Ahmed Pasha took a rebellious attitude towards the Ottoman Empire for a while and shed blood without legitimation and any orders. However the Sublime Porte which was afraid of the Wahhabi revolt held him in the Prefecture of Damascus and granted him the Command of Hejaz and reformation of Egypt. In 1804 as he was older than seventy years old he caught tuberculosis and passed away.

Cezzar Ahmed Pasha was an intelligent and brave commander and an astute ruler. During nights he changed his clothes and walked around people, collecting news and taking measures. Therefore some claimed that he was a sorcerer and people believed that he had spiritual powers. Cezzar Ahmed Pasha Mosque which was built in his birthplace in his name is a wonderful artistic work. 



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