Çenebaz Osman Efendi

Çenebaz Osman Efendi ("Osman Efendi the Chatterer" or "the Loudmouthed"), formally named as Yenişehirli Osman Efendi (either from Yenişehir near Bursa, or from Giannitsa, now in Greece, which was also called "Yenişehir" in Ottoman times) in Ottoman sources, was an Ottoman diplomat who was the first plenipotentiary in the first peace conference, held in Focşani, today in Romania, starting 19 August 1772, among the several that were organised during the ten month truce (10 May 1772 - 21 March 1773) in the course of the Russo-Turkish War (1768-1774). His Russian counterparts were Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov, Catherine II's lover and counsellor, and Aleksey Mikhailovich Obreskov (1720-1787), Russia's peacetime ambassador in İstanbul.

His name remains a byword till this day, and this thanks to his highly original perception of international relations and the very unusual methods he developed while conducting diplomatic negotiations. He re-gained notoriety in Turkey's everyday culture following an anecdote on him told in a book by the Turkish novelist Kemal Tahir.

He started by burying an amulet into the ground on the way the members of the Russian delegation were to walk each day to render themselves to the conference hall. He also kept by his side a large sack full of gold coins at all times during the pourparlers, shuffling the coins noisily and gazing at his interlocutors with meaningful eyes, to the great puzzlement of the Russian negotiators. Proud of his rhetorical skill, he thought he could wear down the Russians with his diatribe of words and he sometimes just shouted at them meaninglessly to keep the pace of his speech. A first-hand Ottoman witness, named below, wrote that, in the end, the Russians had got used to listening to him as they would listen to a kaval.

Russian Field-Marshal Count Peter Rumyantsev noted in his memoirs: "If we say this efendi is crazy, it would be improper, so let us just say that he is smart but his is not like any other intelligence, we have ever experienced.". In his account of the war, Ahmed Resmi Efendi, a fervent advocate of immediate peace, placed the blame for the failure of the first round of negoatiations, centered around the question of Crimea, squarely on Çenebaz Osman Efendi's shoulders.

The same Ahmed Resmi Efendi was to be the one to appose his signature on the 1774 Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca, disastrous for the Ottomans, at the end of the second round of the war resumed in March 1773.

ee also

* Ahmed Resmî Efendi

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  • Ahmed Resmî Efendi — (English, Ahmed Efendi of Resmo ), also called Ahmed bin İbrahim Giridî ( Ahmed the son of İbrahim the Cretan ), was a Cretan Turk statesman, diplomat and author of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century. In international relations terms, his… …   Wikipedia


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