Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha
CKM 2019-20 / Aziz Yardımlı



Mehmed Emin Âli Paşa


Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha (on the far right) at the Congress of Paris (1856).

“Congrès de Paris,” Edouard Louis Dubufe, 1856, Palace of Versailles.
  Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha 1815-1871

Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha (W)

Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha 1815-1871 (W)

Portrait of Mehmed Emin Ali Pasha, Ottoman statesman (March 5, 1815 – September 7, 1871).
Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
In office 6 August 1852 – 3 October 1852
Monarch Abdulmejid I
Preceded by Mustafa Reşid Pasha
Succeeded by Damat Mehmed Ali Pasha
Personal details
Born March 5, 1815 Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Died September 7, 1871 (aged 56)

Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha, also spelled as Mehmed Emin Aali (March 5, 1815 – September 7, 1871) was a prominent Ottoman statesman during the Tanzimat period, best known as the architect of the Ottoman Reform Edict of 1856, and for his role in the Treaty of Paris (1856) that ended the Crimean War. Âli Pasha was widely regarded as a deft and able statesman, and often credited with preventing an early break-up of the empire.

Âli Pasha advocated for a western style of reform to modernize the empire, including secularization of the state and improvements to civil liberties. He worked to pacify nationalist movements while at the same time fend off foreign aggressors that were trying to weaken Ottoman control. He advocated for an Ottoman nationalism that would replace diverse ethnic and religious loyalties.

From humble origins as the son of a doorkeeper, Âli Pasha rose through the ranks of the Ottoman state and became the Minister of Foreign Affairs for a short time in 1840, and again in 1846. He became Grand Vizier for a few months in 1852, then again Foreign Minister in 1854. Between 1855 and 1871 he alternated between the two jobs, ultimately holding the position of Foreign Minister seven times and Grand Vizier five times in his lifetime. He was awarded the Order of the Red Eagle, 1st Class (for non-Christians) in 1851.

Early life


Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha was born on March 5, 1815, in Constantinople into a home of modest means. He was born the son of a shopkeeper, with no formal education except three years of primary school. It was in primary school that Ali Pasa learned to read and write in addition to memorizing some suras of the Koran. Nonetheless, Âli Pasha did continue to educate himself, including teaching himself French. He started his lengthy public serve career at the age of 14 as a clerk in the imperial council. The next year Âli Pasha was transferred to the records department of the Imperial Council. Once again Âli Pasha was transferred a year later, this time to the Translation Office.

Translation Office

The Translation Office (Turkish: Tercüme Odası, known in English as the office of the "dragoman" from the Turkish tercüme, "translation") was set up in response to Greek independence. This was due to the fact that, prior to Greek independence, many Greeks had acted as translators in government business. Consequently, the Greek uprising for independence resulted in an exodus of the Greek translators working for the government and left a demand for translators. In addition, internal affairs including, the defeat of Ottoman armies at the hand of the Egyptians and the Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi with the Russians, diplomacy became more important. Such developments not only led to growth within the Translation office, but also to higher scrutiny of the Translation Office and it increased salaries. The job, however, didn't just improve Ali Paha's lot in life; it also impacted his future policies. For instance, Âli Pasha and others in the Translation Office, such as Âli Pasha's future partner in reform, Mehmed Fuad Pasha, got needed experience in the world of diplomacy through the work of translation in that very field. This exposure to the diplomatic realm distanced Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha from the values of traditional Ottoman society while at the same time developed within him the values of a rational bureaucrat.

Mustafa Reşid Pasha

In 1835 Âli Pasha was appointed second secretary to the Embassy in Vienna, where he studied the organization of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. A few years later Âli Pasha found himself as counselor to Mustafa Reşid Pasha. Although, Mustafa Reşid Pasha was only ambassador to the Court of Saint James, better known as the royal court of Britain, he would be appointed Grand Vizier in 1839 and began a period of reform in the Ottoman Empire, known as the Tenzimat Reform. Mustafa left Ali Pasa in charge while he headed back to the Ottoman Empire to take his position as Grand Vizier. This development eventually would lead to Âli Pasha being made the official ambassador and he would continue to rise higher and higher in political office.

The Crimean War

Participants of the Congress of Paris, 1856.

In 1854 during the Crimean War Âli Pasha was recalled from retirement in order to take the portfolio of foreign affairs for a second time under Reshid Pasha and in this capacity took part in 1855 in the conference of Vienna. In 1855 he again became the Grand Vizier for one year, an office he filled no less than five times; in that role he represented the Porte at the Congress of Paris in 1856 and signed the peace treaty that ended the Crimean War.

Durant la guerre de Crimée (1853-1856), les puissances européennes entrent en guerre contre la Russie. La France et le Royaume-Uni s’érigent comme les gardiens de l’ordre international, protégeant un Empire ottoman affaibli.

During the Crimean War (1853-1856), the European powers went to war against Russia. France and the United Kingdom set themselves up as guardians of international order, protecting a weakened Ottoman Empire.

Âli Pasha as an Ambassador

In 1846 Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha was made Minister of Foreign Affairs under Mustafa Pasa which is no surprise given his well honed skill in diplomacy. Sultan Abdülaziz, who often clashed with Âli Pasha over the powers of the Grand Vizier, admitted that he couldn't replace such a man so recognized in Europe. It was during his role as ambassador that Âli Pasha promoted friendship with England and France as well as incorporating western practices into the Ottoman Empire. For example, based on his experience of the education system of France, Âli Pasha laid the foundation of the prestigious Galatasaray High School in its modern form, where children of minority religions would be taught amongst Muslim students. This was done so that people of other religions would cease to see the Turks, as enemies. Âli Pasha's responsibilities and recognition increased further when he was chosen as lead delegate for the peace talks, while being appointed Grand Vizier again in the 1855 Congress of Vienna, following the Crimean war. It was there that he formatted a peace settlement that included the Ottoman Empire into the Concert of Europe, a balance of power among European nations, and that the other powers of the Concert of Europe would respect the territories of the Ottoman Empire and its independence. Subsequently, it was altered somewhat and incorporated into Article seven of the 1856 treaty of Paris.

Edict of 1856

Although the intervention of England, France, and Sardinia in the Crimean War, in addition to the Treaty of Paris in 1856, saved the Ottoman Empire from Russia, the Ottoman Empire was now facing external pressure from its saviors to treat all their citizens equally regardless of religion. In response, Grand Vizier Âli Pasha formulated the Hatt-i Humayun reform edict of 1856. This promised equality to everyone in front of the law, opened civil offices to all subjects, guaranteed the security of life and property of non-Muslims and promised no one would be forced to change their religion. As a result, there was an increase of Christian missionaries in the Ottoman Empire. This created a concern that Muslims would convert to Christianity and get out of military service. In response to this fear, the Ottoman Empire ended up making a policy that conversion would not be allowed. In short, converts to Christianity could be arrested and punished. The new freedoms also were unpopular with some non-Muslim members of the Ottoman population. Christian subjects, for instance, were angry for being put on the same level as Jews.

Âli Pasha versus the opposition


Âli Pasha constantly battled the sultan on the powers of the Grand Vezir during his time in office. He not only insisted that the sultan defer to him for ministerial appointments, but also secretaries and even attendants. Âli Pasha was also known to remove those with whom he disagreed politically, such as, the Young Ottomans. The Young Ottomans disagreed vehemently with the Tanzimat reform and saw it as pandering to the demands of Europe at the expense of sharia law. Ali Pasha, on the other hand, wanted the fusion of all subjects by providing equal opportunities in education and public office, with the end result being that Christians no longer would see themselves as oppressed by the Ottoman state, therefore leading to a more stable empire. This idea of fusion of Ottoman citizens was known as Ottomanism and the Young Ottomans didn’t share this view, expressing their views through media like newspapers. Although, the opposition tactics of the Young Ottomans were within the boundaries of Istanbul censorship, Âli Pasha nonetheless closed down their newspapers and banished them.

Death and legacy


His close friend and fellow Tanzimat reformer was Fu’ad Pasha, who died in 1869 as the acting foreign minister. Upon his death, Âli Pasha took on the roles of both foreign minister and prime minister (grand vizier). Grieving over the death of Fu'ad Pasha, and with the added stress of enacting reforms by himself, Âli Pasha's health began to deteriorate. He was stricken with tuberculosis and died on 7 September 1871 after three months of illness, at the age of 56.

In response to his death, the Young Ottomans returned from exile, hoping to find a government more in line with their ideals. The Tanzimat period was terminated. The new Vezir, Mahmud Nedim Pasha, was an advocate of sultan absolutism, and the only thing he shared at all with the Young Ottomans was the belief of an Islamic character of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1910, a political testament of the deceased Âli Pasha was published. The document was written in 1871, just before his death, and was addressed to Sultan Abdülaziz. In it, he recounts his accomplishments such as keeping the Ottoman Empire intact, improving the bureaucracy, dealing with revolts with minor concessions, starting railroad construction and appeasement of European powers. He also mentions some failures on his part, such as the inadequate tax system, and goes on to give the sultan advice for the future. Such advice includes maintaining religious freedom, accepting non-Muslims into the armed forces and civil service, and improving the tax system by employing controlled companies to collect taxes. Although, some doubt exists as to the accuracy or authenticity of this document.


Mehmed Emin Âli Paşa — OTTOMAN GRAND VIZIER (B)

Mehmed Emin Âli Paşa — OTTOMAN GRAND VIZIER 1815-1871 (B)

1856. Ali Bey, the Military Attache of the Turkish Embassy in Paris at the Paris Peace Congress.

Mehmed Emin Âli Paşa, (born March 5, 1815, ConstantinopleOttoman Empire [now Istanbul, Tur.] — died Sept. 7, 1871, Constantinople), Ottoman grand vizier (chief minister) distinguished for his westernizing reform policies. Together with  Mustafa Reşid Paşa and  Fuad Paşa, he was a main figure of the Tanzimat (Reorganization) period (1839–c. 1870) in Ottoman history.

The son of a shopkeeper, Âli Paşa entered government service as a boy. Without formal education, he acquired some knowledge of French, and in 1836 he accompanied a diplomatic mission to Vienna — the first of a series of diplomatic assignments that culminated in his appointment as ambassador to London in 1841. After his return he became foreign minister under Mustafa Reşid Paşa and took part in the congresses of Vienna (1855) and Paris (1856). He served as grand vizier in 1852, 1855–56, 1858–59, 1861, and 1867–71.

Âli Paşa resisted the sultan’s efforts to limit the powers of the grand vizierate; he settled the troubles in Serbia and in Moldavia-Walachia by peaceful means; and, in 1868, he pacified the Cretan revolt by the grant of a measure of local self-government. He was one of the most zealous advocates of friendship with France and Great Britain during the reigns of the sultans Abdülmecid I and Abdülaziz.


Delegates of the Great Powers at Conference.

(Original Caption) 1855- Congress of Vienna, 1855. Plenipotentiaries of the Great Powers, Great Britain, France, Austria, Turkey and Russia try to settle the issues created by the Crimean War. Woodcut, 1855.


Treaty of Paris 1856 (B)

Treaty of Paris 1856 (B)

Treaty of Paris, (1856), treaty signed on March 30, 1856, in Paris that ended the Crimean War. The treaty was signed between Russia on one side and France, Great Britain, Sardinia-Piedmont, and Turkey on the other. Because the western European powers had fought the war to protect Ottoman Turkey from Russia, the treaty gave special attention to this problem. The signatories guaranteed the independence and territorial integrity of Turkey. Russia was obliged to surrender Bessarabia (situated at the mouth of the Danube River) to Moldavia, which along with Walachia were reorganized as autonomous states under Ottoman suzerainty. (These two principalities later joined to form Romania.) The Black Sea was neutralized (i.e., its waters were closed to all warships), and the Danube was opened to the shipping of all nations. In 1870 Russia repudiated the demilitarization of the Black Sea and began to rebuild its naval fleet there.

Delegates at the Congress of Paris

(Original Caption) 1856- Paris, France: General view of the delegates to the Congress of Paris seated at a table during peace discussions. The Congress of Paris was held in 1856 involving the British, French, Ottoman Empire, Russia, Austria, Prussia and Sardina to negotiate an end to the Crimean War.

'The Congress of Paris in 1856', 1907.

The Congress of Paris was a peace conference held in Paris in 1856, between representatives of the great powers of Europe to make peace after the Crimean War. After Édouard Louis Dubufe (1819-1883). From The World's History, Volume VIII, by Dr. H. F. Helmolt. [William Heinemann, London, 1907]. (Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)

Congress of Paris, February 23-30 March, 1856, France. (Photo by: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Opening of the new session in the Foreign Office

FRANCE - CIRCA 2002: The opening of the new session in the Foreign Office, April 7, 1856, during the Paris Congress. Crimean War, France, 19th century. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)


📹 30th March 1856 — The Crimean War officially ends with the Treaty of Paris (VİDEO)

📹 30th March 1856 — The Crimean War officially ends with the Treaty of Paris (LINK)

Against a background of declining Ottoman power, Britain and France later joined the war to stop Russia gaining dominance around the Black Sea.

Having raged for two and a half years, with fighting mostly taking place around the Crimean Peninsula, the “notoriously incompetent international butchery” ended when Russia accepted preliminary peace terms after Austria mobilised with the opposing forces. The subsequent peace conference in Paris featured Russia on one side of the table and the alliance of Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia-Piedmont on the other.

The treaty guaranteed the independence and territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire, and sought to achieve that with the ‘neutralisation’ of the Black Sea. This denied military access to the waters and also restricted Russia and Turkey from building military fortifications on the coast. Furthermore, the Treaty of Paris restored the territory that each nation controlled to that which had existed before the war, while Russia was forced to abandon its attempts to protect the Ottoman Empire’s Christian subjects.

In reality the treaty only returned temporary stability to Europe. The Ottoman Empire failed to reform and so continued to crumble as nationalist sentiment grew. The larger ‘Eastern Question’ itself remained unsettled and, in 1877, Russia and the Ottoman Empire again went to war.


View of the Arsenal from Pera, 1836

Illustration from The Beauties of the Bosphorus, 1838, by Julia Pardoe (author) and W.H. Bartlett (illustrator).



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