Melek Ahmed Pasha

Melek Ahmed Pasha (ca. 1604–1662) was an Ottoman official and Grand Vizier during the stagnation of the empire.


Early years

He was of Abkhaz (or Abazin) origin. According to one source his father was a sea captain named Pervane.[1] During the reign of Murad IV, he was appointed as the governor of Diyarbakır. During Ibrahim I's reign he was appointed to the governorships of Erzurum, Mosul, Aleppo and Damascus. In 1644 he married to Kaya Sultan, Murad's daughter and gained the title damat (groom). But all of the provinces (even Erzurum a part of Turkey) he was assigned, were quite far from Istanbul, the capital, and during most of his assignments his wife stayed in Istanbul. During the reign of Mehmed IV, he finally returned to Istanbul as a vizier. But in 1650, to the dismay of his wife he was appointed as the governor of Baghdad, another post far from Istanbul. Kaya Sultan tried to persuade the queen regent to revoke the decision. But she couldn't succeed, a sign of the chaos in Ottoman palace.[2] Nevertheless, before Melek Ahmed left Istanbul, the Grand Vizier Kara Dev Murad Pasha resigned, complaining of the intrigues of the palace people. The queen regent offered the post to Melek Ahmed, who accepted the offer on the condition that the palace people would not meddle with the governance of the state (5 August 1650).[3]

Grand Vizier

Melek Ahmed Pasha saw that the empire was almost bankrupt. The Cretan War (1645-1669) was very costly and tax revenues from Anatolia were much less than the expected amount because of the Jelali revolts. He did his best to balance the budget, but without a real knowledge of financial affairs, his economic measures worsened the economy instead of improving it. Among his measures was the debasing of coinage by reducing the gold content. This caused reactions among both the merchants and the soldiers whose salaries were paid by the new coins.[4] The Sultan was forced to relieve him of his post on 22 August 1651.

Later years

After 1651, he was again assigned as a provincial governor, but this time in Silistra (now in Bulgaria), much closer to capital. Soon he was able to return to Istanbul. In 1654, Mustafa İbşir Pasha had been appointed as the Grand Vizier, but delayed his arrival in Istanbul. During this period, Melek Ahmed functioned as his deputy. This aroused İbşir Pasha's suspicions, and Melek Ahmed was exiled to Van and Malkara. However, after İbşir Pasha was deposed, Melek Ahmed Pasha was able to regain his former titles. After working in some provinces in the European part of the empire, he died in Istanbul in 1662.


In the Ottoman Empire the minting of devalued coinage continued after 1651, and provided the major reason for a wide-scale rebellion, the so-called "Çınar Incident", in 1656.

Evliya Çelebi and Melek Ahmed Pasha

Although not a particularly successful Grand Vizier, details about both Melek Ahmed Pasa and Kaya Sultan are well known because of Evliya Çelebi's books. Evliya Çelebi was one of the most important Turkish travel writers. His mother was milk sibling of Melek Ahmed Pasha, and Evliya Çelebi used this opportunity to travel with Melek Ahmed Pasha.[5]


  1. ^ Ayhan Buz:Osmanlı Sadrazamları, Neden Kitap, İstanbul, 2009, ISBN 978-975-254-278-5 p.107
  2. ^ An essay on Ahmet Pasha (Turkish)
  3. ^ Joseph von Hammer:Osmanlı Tarihi Vol II (condensation: Abdülkadir Karahan), Milliyet yayınları, İstanbul. p 100
  4. ^ Prof.Yaşar Yücel-Prof Ali Sevim:Türkiye tarihi III, AKDTYKTTK Yayınları, 1991, pp 104-106
  5. ^ On line history(Turkish)
Preceded by
Kara Dev Murad Pasha
Grand Vizier
5 August 1650 – 22 August 1651
Succeeded by
Abaza Siyavuş Pasha I

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