The Late Chief Architect Mustafa AghaAysu Ateş
Negative developments in 17th-century Ottoman political life caused damage to the empire’s administrative mechanisms. This situation paved the way for architects to increase their interest in politics and to participate in palace intrigue over time. The fact that the architects of the era are often mentioned in political games as opposed to their artistic interests also indicates the change in position of Ottoman architects. Architect Mustafa Agha was one of the most interesting historical figures of the age due to his relations with people such as Architect Kasım Agha and also Cinji Hodja Hüseyin Effendi, one of the main actors in the palace intrigue of the period, and his murder after gaining the enmity of Grand Vizier Fazıl Ahmed Pasha. This study determines the term this architect served in office, scrutinizes the date and cause of his death, and examines the structures built in Istanbul during his time as chief architect. The study is mainly based on Ottoman archive documents, qadi registries, and the works of Ottoman historians and has attempted to determine Mustafa Agha’s position within the framework of the relationship between art and politics in the 17th-century Ottoman architectural environment.
Maktûl Mimarbaşı Mustafa AğaAysu Ateş
XVII. yüzyılda Osmanlı siyasi yaşamında meydana gelen olumsuz gelişmeler, devletin idari ve yönetim mekanizmasının zarar görmesine neden olmuştur. Bu durum, mimarların siyasete olan ilgisinin artmasına ve zamanla saray entrikalarına katılmalarının yolunu açmıştır. Çağın mimarlarının sanatsal, teknik ve estetik yönleri yerine genellikle politik oyunlar içinde anılmaları, aynı zamanda Osmanlı mimarının değişen konumuna da işaret etmektedir. Mimar Mustafa Ağa, dönemin entrikalarının baş aktörlerinden Mimar Kasım Ağa ve -ağırlıkla Cinci Hoca olarak tanınan- Hüseyin Efendi gibi kişilerle dolaylı münasebetleri, defalarca mimarbaşılık görevinden azledilmesi ve sonunda Sadrazam Fazıl Ahmed Paşa’nın düşmanlığını kazanarak katledilmesi dolayısıyla çağın en ilginç tarihi kişiliklerinden birisidir. Osmanlı mimarlarına dair yapılan çalışmalarda geri planda kalan Mimar Mustafa Ağa’nın entrikalarla dolu yaşamının ele alındığı bu çalışmada, mimarın görev süreleri belirlenmiş, ölüm tarihi ve nedeni tespit edilmiş, başmimarlığı döneminde İstanbul’da inşa edilen çeşitli türdeki mimari eserler ana hatlarıyla incelenmiştir. Bununla birlikte, Mustafa Ağa konusundaki birçok belirsizlik, Osmanlı arşiv belgelerine dayanılarak tartışılmıştır. Ağırlıkla Osmanlı arşiv belgeleri, kadı sicilleri ve Osmanlı tarihçilerinin eserlerine dayanılarak hazırlanan çalışmada, XVII. yüzyılın mimarlık ortamında, sanat ve siyaset ilişkisi çerçevesinde Mimar Mustafa Ağa’nın konumu belirlenmeye çalışılmıştır.
The 17th-century Ottoman Empire was a period when relationships between art and politics were intertwined and when some architects directly participated in palace intrigue with the weakening of architectural output. The political developments of the period undoubtedly laid the groundwork for this. Since the beginning of the 17th century, the Kösem Sultan (also known as Mahpeyker Sultan) and Turhan Hadice Sultan undertook the administration of the empire at certain times as a result of having the sultans spend most of their time in the harem by means of the cage method instead of ascending directly to rule and as a result of ascending to rule at a young age and being inexperienced. The fact that the Haseki Sultans ruled the empire enabled various officials, including the chief architects Kasim Agha and Mustafa Agha, to participate in the political games of the period near the harem and these female sultans.
Mustafa Agha bin Abdulmennan’s name can be found to occur as chief architect in the mid17th century during the reign of Sultan İbrahim I (1640-1648), when the Ottoman administrative mechanism had weakened and when his mother Mahpeyker Sultan had taken over administration of the empire and the Ottoman Guild of Architects had begun to dissolve. He served as chief architect at intervals between approximately 1644-1661. Mustafa Agha bin Abdulmennan was involved in some architectural scandals and was murdered upon being found responsible for the construction of non-Muslim places of worship, something that had occurred as a result of the grand vizier’s agreement with the imprisoned Greek architects due to the enmity Grand Vizier Fazil Ahmed Pasha had while the construction of the New Mosque was underway. The New Mosque Complex, which Mustafa Agha was charged to complete by Hadice Turhan Sultan, resulted in him losing his life. However, historical figures such as Grand Vizier Melek Ahmed Pasha, Grand Vizier Siyavuş Pasha, and Nasuh Pashazadeh, as well as Fazil Ahmed Pasha, are understood to have disliked Mustafa Agha. Mustafa Agha was mentioned among the people of the age as one who pretended to be a vizier and who had confronted the powerful grand viziers, and the number of freed slaves and odalisques and wealth that was unearthed after his death are also quite remarkable.
Various records dating to the 17th century contain no mention of any political architect figures after the death of Mustafa Agha bin Abdulmennan and Kasım Agha. The regulations at the end of the century, especially after the death of two architects in the Ottoman Guild of Architects, show that ability of architects to become political figures had been blocked. The continued weakening of the Ottoman Guild of Architects in the 17th century resulted in the closure of the architectural organization in 1831. Despite the complete weakening of the Ottoman Guild of Architects, the fact that it had survived for centuries until the beginning of the 19th century reveals the solid structure of the architectural institution.
Architects are the creators of Ottoman structures yet have been included in a very limited number of Ottoman chronicles. Mustafa Agha was excluded from this generalization because of his political relations and found a wide place in the works of Ottoman historians. In addition to the works of chroniclers, the duties of Mustafa Agha can also be traced through Ottoman archive documents. The current study was mainly prepared based on the works of Ottoman historians, qadi registers, and Ottoman archive documents. It examines Mustafa Agha’s life and architectural process, determines the date of his death, discusses why he was executed, and attempts to analyze the works he had built in the capital of Istanbul during his term as chief architect. In order to eliminate the confusion about other architects who had successively been appointed as chief architects with the same name in the middle of the 17th century, the study also makes a more limited mention of Mustafa Agha bin İbrahim, who had the same name as Mustafa Agha bin Abdulmennan who had died in 1662 and went on to succeed him in this position. As a result, this article has studied the life of Architect Mustafa Agha in an attempt to present a section of the architectural environment in the mid-17th century, was tried to be presented.