Turkish history of Pasha family
Conquest of the Limassol Castle by the Ottomans
The Ottoman Empire under the leadership of Sultan Selim I (1512-20) conquered the Mameluk Empire centered in Egypt in early 1571. At this time, although Cyprus was occupied and governed by Venetian lords, they paid an annual tribute to the Mameluk Sultan in recognition of his suzerainty. Following the Ottoman victory in Egypt, the Venetians paid their annual tribute directly to the Sultan in Istanbul. However, Sultan Süleyman I (1520-66), threatened by Venetian fortifications of Cyprus and the piracy in the seas surrounding Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean, began military preparations towards removing the Venetian lords from Cyprus. Nevertheless, these efforts never materialized into a full-scale operation before Süleyman I's death.
However, taking over the leadership of the Ottoman Empire from his father, Sultan Selim II repeatedly complained to the Venetians and demanded an end to the piracy in the seas surrounding Cyprus. The Venetians refused to do this and ignored the demand of Sultan to have full control of the island.
These relations were exacerbated by the Venetian seizure of Turkish ships, execution of Turkish corsairs in violation of an Ottoman-Venetian Treaty, and the continuing presence of Maltese pirates in Venetian ports harassing Muslim pilgrims and interfering in general commerce. Therefore, the Sultan Selim II decided to intervene and put an end to this state of affairs, as well as to consolidate the Ottoman control of the East in general. The Venetians refused to yield to the demands of the Sultan, and the Ottoman-Venetian war began early in 1570. Nicosia fell on 9 September 1570, followed by Famagusta on 1 August 1571. In spite of a naval reversal at Lepanto on the Adriatic coast on 7 October 1571, Selim's efforts were successful and the Venetians had to sue for peace.
The peace treaty was concluded in March 1573 with Venice agreeing both to pay a heavy war indemnity sufficient to defray all Sultan's expenses incurred in the conflict, and also to renounce all Venetian claims to Cyprus. It must be remembered that the Venetians were foreign feudal landlords in Cyprus, and the first step of the Turkish governors was to abolish the feudal system.
Following the defeat of the Venetians in 1571, Lala Mustafa Pasha, the Turkish Commander of the land forces in Cyprus, chose, before departing for Istanbul, 12, 000 foot soldiers to remain on the island for the formation of the defensive garrison of Famagusta, Nicosia and Kyrenia. In addition, he distributed 4, 000 cavalry men among the localities of Les Salines (Larnaca), Limassol, Paphos, Kyrenia, and elsewhere. The military forces were complemented by an additional 20, 000 decommissioned soldiers and 2, 000 cavalry remaining as colonists. These people as a whole formed the original nucleus of the fledgling Turkish-Cypriot community whose members were of Turkish origin, and by the firman (decree) of Sultan Selim II they were given fiefs for the provision of their homes, and sustenance. Steps were also taken to assist all soldiers with dependents on the mainland to bring their wives and children to Cyprus.