Who Was Pargali Ibrahim Pasha?
Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha 1493, Parga -- 15 March 1536), also known as Frenk Ibrahim Pasha ("the Westerner"), Makbul Ibrahim Pasha ("the Favorite"), which later changed into Maktul Ibrahim Pasha ("the Executed") after his execution in the Topkapı Palace, was the first grand vizier in the Ottoman Empire appointed by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. In 1523, he replaced Piri Mehmed Pasha, who had been appointed in 1518 by Suleiman's father, the preceding sultan Selim I, and remained in office for 13 years. He attained a level of authority and influence rivaled by only a handful of other grand viziers of the Empire, but in 1536, he was executed by the Sultan and his property was confiscated by the state. Ibrahim was a Greek born to Christian parents, in Parga, Epirus, modern Greece, then part of the Republic of Venice. He was the son of a sailor in Parga and as a child he was carried off by pirates and sold as a slave to the Manisa Palace in western Anatolia, where Ottoman crown princes (şehzade) were being educated. There, he was befriended by crown prince Suleiman, who was of the same age. Ibrahim received his education at the Ottoman court and became a polyglot and polymath. Upon Suleiman's accession to the Ottoman throne in 1520, he was awarded various posts, the first being the Falconer of the Sultan. Ibrahim proved his skills in numerous diplomatic encounters and military campaigns, and was so rapidly promoted that at one point he begged Suleiman not to promote him too rapidly, for fear of arousing the jealousy and enmity of the other viziers, who expected some of those titles for themselves. Pleased with Ibrahim's display of modesty, Suleiman purportedly swore that he would never be put to death during his reign. After being appointed grand vizier, Ibrahim Pasha continued to receive other additional appointments and titles from the sultan (such as the title of Serasker), and his power in the Ottoman Empire became almost as absolute as his master's. After his rival Hain Ahmed Pasha, the governor of Egypt, declared himself independent of the Ottoman Empire and was executed in 1524 Although he married Suleiman's sister, Hatice Sultan, and was as such a bridegroom to the Ottoman dynasty He is usually referred to as "Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha" or "Frenk (the European) Ibrahim Pasha" due to his tastes and manners. Yet another name given to him by his contemporaries was the purposefully oxymoronic "Makbul Maktul" (favorite and killed) Ibrahim Pasha. On the diplomatic front, Ibrahim's work with Western Christendom was a complete success. Portraying himself as "the real power behind the Ottoman Empire", Ibrahim used a variety of tactics to negotiate favorable deals with the leaders of the Catholic powers. The Venetian diplomats even referred to him as "Ibrahim the Magnificent", a play on Suleiman's usual sobriquet. In 1533, he convinced Charles V to turn Hungary into an Ottoman vassal state. In 1535, he completed a monumental agreement with Francis I that gave France favorable trade rights within the Ottoman empire in exchange for joint action against the Habsburgs. This agreement would set the stage for joint Franco-Ottoman naval maneuvers, including the basing of the Ottoman fleet in southern France (in Toulon) during the winter of 1543-1544. A skilled commander of Suleiman's army, he eventually fell from grace after an imprudence committed during a campaign against the Persian Safavid empire, when he awarded himself a title including the word "Sultan" (in particular, his adoption of the title Serasker Sultan was seen as a grave affront to Suleiman). This incident launched a series of events which culminated in his execution in 1536, thirteen years after his appointment as grand vizier. It has also been suggested by a number of sources that Ibrahim Pasha had been a victim of Hürrem Sultan's (the sultan's legal wife) intrigues and rising influence on the sovereign, especially in view of Ibrahim's past support for the cause of Şehzade Mustafa, Suleiman I's first son and heir to the throne, who was accused of treason and strangled to death upon an order by his father on 6 October 1553, through a series of plots put in motion by Hürrem Sultan (who wanted one of her sons to become the next sultan, instead of Mustafa who was the son of Mahidevran Sultan.) Since Süleyman had sworn not to take Ibrahim's life during his reign, he acquired a fetva from a local religious leader, which permitted him to take back the oath by building a mosque in Constantinople. Suleiman later regretted Ibrahim's execution, and this is reflected in his poems, in which even after 20 years, he stresses topics of amity and trust between friends and often hints on character traits similar to Ibrahim Pasha's. In Muhtesem Yuzyil Pargali Ibrahim Pasha is played by Okan Yalabik