The aim of this paper is to examine centre-periphery relations and issues of state control in Ottoman provinces in the seventeenth century, as these are reflected in the case of Mehmed Ağa Boyacıoğlu in Ottoman Cyprus. Mehmed Ağa Boyacıoğlu rose to prominence in the 1680s and dominated the island for a period of five to seven years, until 1690. His behaviour and actions, and the way the Sublime Porte dealt with them, represent a useful example of how power was negotiated between the centre and the periphery. Moreover, it demonstrates how rebellion terminology had a particular meaning for contemporary historians and officials, but must be used with caution by the analysts of today. This paper focuses on our handling of this phenomenon, and initiates a discussion on terminology and meaning.