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AHMET VEFİK PAŞA

Statesman and writer (b. 1823, İstanbul - d. 2 April 1891). After completing his elementary education in İstanbul, he attended the Paris Saint Louis High School as his father had been appointed as the Ambassador to France. When he returned to İstanbul, he worked at the Office of Translation. Later, he was appointed to important positions at home and abroad with the support of Mustafa Reşit Paşa, who was a close friend of his father. He worked as a secretary at the embassy in London (1840), as a member of the Council for Education and Science (1851), as the Ambassador to Tehran (1855), the Minister of Law Proceedings (1857), the Ambassador to France (1891), the Minister of Foundations and the Chairman of the Court of Auditors (1862). He was appointed as Anatolian Troop inspector in Bursa in 1864 but was dismissed from this office on complaints by the people of Bursa. He became the Undersecretary of the Prime Ministry (1872), the Minister of Education (1872), member of the Council of State, a Member of Parliament with the title of “Paşa” (1878), the Minister of Education for a second time, the Minister of Internal Affairs and Grand Vizier (1878) in the period of Sadrazam Mahmud Nedim Paşa. After these positions, he became the Governor of Bursa and Grand Vizier for the second time (1882), a post that only lasted for three days.

Ahmet Vefik Paşa was an interesting and important person with his wit, statesmanship and the literary side of his character. It is said that his hard-to-understand humor played an important role in his frequent change of jobs. It is claimed that he sold the land where the old Robert College (later the Boğaziçi University) was built to American missionaries because of his debts that accumulated as a result of his excessive expenditure when he was ambassador in Paris. As a result, he was criticized by Abdülhamit II. (Osman Ergin, History of Education, 3rd Volume, p. 856). His theater works are based on translations and adaptations. He is also famous for his studies on language and history.

WORKS:

HISTORY and LANGUAGE: Salnâme (Almanac, 1846-47, 1848-49), Müntebahât-ı Durûb-ı Emsâl (Turkish Proverbs, 1852), Hikmet-i Tarih (History of Philosophy, lecture notes, 1863), Şecere-i Türkî (Genealogy of the Turks, translation from Ebul Gazi Bahadır Han, 1864), Fezleke-i Tarih-i Osmanî (Summary of Ottoman History, text book, 1876).

ADAPTATION PLAY: Azarya (Azarya from L. Avvare, 1933), Yorgaki Dandini (Yorgaki Dandini from Georges Dandin, 1869, 1927), Zoraki Tabib (Unwilling Doctor, 1869), Dekbazlık (Fakery), Tabib-i Aşk (Love Doctor, 1933).

In addition, he translated plays and novels.