The lecture “Life of Mehmed Paša Sokolović” was held on December 7th in organization of the Department of History of the Andrić Institute. The director of the Andrić Institute, Emir Kusturica, greeted the numerous audience and guests with an introductory speech.
A guest of the Andrić Institute and one of the lecturers was Master Enes Demir, doctorand at the Department of Contemporary History at the Gaza University in Ankara, and is employed at the General Directorate of State Archives of the Republic of Turkey. Mr Enes Demir, whose narrow field of scientific research work is history, politics, archives, diplomacy, foreign policy and international relations, at the very beginning of the lecture, emphasized the importance of Mehmed Paša Sokolović’s personality, which is equally important for both Turkish and Serbian history.
Master Demir presentation is based on biographical information on Mehmed Paša Sokolović from Turkish, Serbian, and other historical sources.
“One of the most important figures of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed Paša Sokolović, was born in the village of Sokolovići in the district of Rudo, which belonged to the Višegrad region in Bosnia,” said Demir, but stressed that other sources speak differently about his ethnic origin.
“According to some Italian sources, according to German historian Johann Wilhelm Zinkeisen, Mehmed Paša was born in Trebinje. Other sources say that he was born in the Orthodox family in the village of Sokolovići, in 1505, as Bajo, and some sources state that he was a native Bosniak “.
He said that according to historical sources, the famous knowledge that the first education of Mehmed Paša Sokolović was received in the Serbian monastery of Mileševa from his uncle who was a monk in the same monastery, and that he was a priest’s assistant.
“In the process of devshirme, the mobilization of children for the Janissaries Army, Ottoman officials recruited him in 1521 to the civil service. It is known that members of the Sokolović family were brought into the saray before, “said Demir, adding that he was first taken to the Edirne Saray where he was presented to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and then transferred to Topkapi Saray where he was subjected to a severe military discipline and further education.
In the period from 1535 to 1545, Mehmed Paša Sokolović, because of his reliability and dedication, changed his positions and reached high positions in the state administration and army.
Speaking about the Sokolović family, Master Demir said that Mehmed Paša had two younger brothers who, when he reached high positions, entered in the civil service.
“Mehmed Paša Sokolović’s father moved to Istanbul in 1540 and converted to Islam with the Muslim name Mehmed Celalettin Sinan. Together with him, Mehmed Paša’s middle brother, who arrived in Istanbul soon entered the civil service, got sick and died. The same thing happened when later Mehmed Paša’s mother came with her younger son to Istanbul. At the time when Mehmed Paša was appointed as a great vizier, his father, who was then in Thessaloniki, also died, and Mehmed Paša remains alone with his mother,” said Demir, adding that Mehmed Paša Sokolović had three sons – Kurd -God, Hasan Paša and Ibrahim Han.
According to Demir’s words, in the years of his military and political ascent, Mehmed Paša was at the helm of the most powerful navy of that period, he was the commander of the Rumelia Eyalet which immediately brought him closer to the highest authority, and on June 29th, 1565, with his 60s years, got the position of a great Vizier, the first officer of the Ottoman Empire.
“With the administrative, political and strategic genius of Mehmed Paša Sokolović, the Ottoman Empire became so powerful at that period that it controlled the whole world. On behalf of the Sultan Mehmed Paša ruled the empire as the padishah, maintaining the great power and power of the Ottoman Empire. With great ease and craftsmanship he performed great tasks,” said Demir.
He added that the period of the reign of Sultan Selim II was the period when Mehmed Paša was most active in running affairs and with the unlimited authority he maintained the Ottoman Empire.
Demir said that Mehmed Paša Sokolović was killed on October 20th, 1579, in the Sultan Ahmed mosque.
“There are more allegations regarding the death of Mehmed Paša Sokolović, and one of them is that in his murder, involved foreign forces were disturbed by the Ottomans experiencing the peak of power. The indirect or direct link of the action was accomplished with the help of those who bothered the powerful fifteen-year rule of Vizier Mehmed Paša.”
At the end of his presentation, Demir reflected on the significance of Mehmed Paša Sokolović as an endower.
“In addition to being a great vizier, Mehmed Paša Sokolović was the son of a great dynasty, and he directed his wealth and property to numerous vakifs – the endowments he raised throughout the Ottoman Empire. In addition to significant political and military merits, Sokolović is the most famous in Bosnia by the bridge located in Višegrad, whose designer was Mimar Sinan. This bridge is known as the Bridge on the Drina (a.k.a The Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge)”.
After Master Demir, thel lecture “Mehmed Paša Sokolović in Serbian history” was held by Dr. Miloš Ković, a Serbian historian, doctor of historical sciences, associate professor at the Department of History at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade.