Ahmet Tevfik Pasha: Ottoman Empire's Last Grand Vizier

Ahmet Tevfik Pasha: Ottoman Empire's Last Grand Vizier

Overview

Following the Turkish Surname Law of 1934, Ahmet Tevfik Pasha became Ahmet Tevfik Okday. He was a Crimean Tatar who was an Ottoman statesman. He was the Ottoman Empire's last Grand Vizier. He was elected to the position three times. During the Allied occupation of Istanbul, the first was under Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1909, and the second was under Mehmed VI from 1918 to 1919 and 1920 to 1922. Ahmet Tevfik was a diplomat, a member of the Ottoman Senate, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and being Prime Minister.

Ahmet Tevfik Pasha

The Last Holder of Grand Vizier

In-office

From 21 October 1920 to 4 November 1922

Sovereign

Mehmed VI

Headed by

Damat Ferid Pasha

Succeeded by

Office abolished

In-office

From 11 November 1918 to 3 March 1919

Sovereign

Mehmed VI

Headed by

Ahmed Izzet Pasha

Succeeded by

Damat Ferid Pasha

In-office

From 13 April 1909 to 5 May 1909

Sovereign

  • Abdul Hamid II
  • Mehmed V

Headed by

Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha

Succeeded by

Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha

Minister of Overseas Affairs of the Ottoman Empire

In-office

From 1899 to 1909

Sovereign

Abdul Hamid II

Prime Minister

  • Halil Rifat Pasha
  • Mehmed Said Pasha
  • Mehmed Ferid Pasha
  • Kâmil Pasha
  • Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha

Headed by

Said Halim Pasha

Succeeded by

Mehmed Rifat Pasha

 

Personal details

 

Born

11 February 1845

Died

8 October 1936 (aged 91)

Nationality

Turkish

Spouse

Elisabeth Tschumi

Children

5

Profile

Ahmet Tevfik was born in Constantinople on 11 February 1845. Ferik Ismail Pasha, his father. His father was a Crimean Tatar who belonged to the Giray family. Ahmet Tevfik enlisted in the military but quit after completing his training as a subordinate officer in the civil bureaucracy. After 1872, he worked in the Foreign Ministry in a variety of capacities. From 1885 to 1895, he was the Ottoman chargé d'affaires and ambassador to Germany in Berlin after serving as an ambassador at Rome, Vienna, St. Petersburg, and Athens. From 1899 until 1909, he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Istanbul after his return. Ahmet Tevfik Pasha was assigned to a seat in the revived Ottoman Empire Senate (the upper house of the also-revived parliament) after the Second Constitutional Era's beginning in 1908. He met and married Elisabeth Tschumi while working as a chargé d'affaires in Athens. She was a Swiss woman who worked as a governess for another diplomat's children. They had five children as a couple.

First Term as Grand Vizier

The unsuccessful counterrevolutionary 31 March Incident in 1909 was one of the immediate consequences of Ahmet Tevfik Pasha's first term as grand vizier. When the absolutists declared the coup, they requested and gained the resignation of Grand Vizier Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha, the former Grand Vizier. Although their intended replacement was not Ahmet Tevfik Pasha, his appointment satisfied their demand for Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha's removal. Sultan Abdul Hamid II, a pro-absolutist, urged Ahmet Tevfik Pasha to take the job. He constituted a primarily nonpartisan and nonpartisan cabinet, and he took steps to contain the violence that had started in Istanbul and Adana. Following the Hareket Ordusu's entry into Istanbul, the constitutional government was restored. Abdul Hamid was overthrown during this time. Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha took over as grand vizier after Ahmet Tevfik Pasha resigned.

Second Term as Grand Vizier

On 11 November 1918, after World War I and the retirement of Ahmed Izzet Pasha, Ahmet Tevfik Pasha was re-appointed as grand vizier. The Allies commenced their occupation of Constantinople two days after his reign began. The Allies forced Sultan Mehmed VI to dissolve parliament on 21 December 1918. Ahmet Tevfik Pasha's cabinet was also disbanded for a few weeks. On 12 January 1919, he reformed his government. He resigned as grand vizier on 3 March 1919, after the invaders compelled him to disband it once more. On 4 March 1919, Damat Ferid Pasha succeeded him.

Paris Peace Conference

After his second tenure as grand vizier, Ahmet Tevfik Pasha became the head of the Ottoman Empire's Senate, which, unlike the lower chamber, had not yet been disbanded. He later served as the Ottoman delegation's president at the Paris Peace Conference, which ended World War I. Ahmet Tevfik Pasha's delegation rejected the proposed treaty's harsh provisions. However, a commission sent by Grand Vizier Damat Ferid Pasha accepted the stipulations and signed the Sèvres Treaty.

Third Term as Grand Vizier

He was re-appointed grand vizier in 1920. He superseded Damat Ferit Pasha. At the Conference of London in 1921, Ahmet Tevfik Pasha offered the nationalist Ankara administration to join his monarchical Istanbul government to establish a single body. The Ankara leader turned down the offer. The two administrations sent separate delegations to the conference, with Istanbul delegation leader Ahmet Tevfik Pasha and Ankara delegation leader Bekir Sami Kunduh. When he arrived in London, he surprised everyone by declaring that the Ankara government was the sole legitimate government of Turkey and allowing Bekir Sami to be the conference's sole delegate. Ahmet Tevfik Pasha met with his administration after the Ottoman Sultanate was abolished on 1 November 1922. With Sultan Mehmed VI no longer in power, they could not find a cause to continue in their positions. One by one, members of the cabinet began to resign. On 4 November 1922, three days after the abolition, Ahmet Tevfik Pasha resigned.

Later Life and Death

He took the surname "Okday" after the 1934 Surname Law. He died in Istanbul on 8 October 1936 and is buried in the Edirnekap Martyr's Cemetery. "My Grandfather, the Last Grand Vizier, Ahmet Tevfik Pasha," a biography authored by his grandson efik Meetu Okday, was released in 1986.

Last updated: 2021-October-26
Tags: Ottoman Empire
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