Kâmil Pasha

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Mehmed Kâmil
Mehmed Kamil Pasha.jpg
Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
In office
25 September 1885 – 4 September 1891
MonarchAbdul Hamid II
Preceded byMehmed Said Pasha
Succeeded byAhmed Cevad Pasha
In office
2 October 1895 – 7 November 1895
MonarchAbdul Hamid II
Preceded byMehmed Said Pasha
Succeeded byHalil Rifat Pasha
In office
5 August 1908 – 14 February 1909
MonarchAbdul Hamid II
Preceded byMehmed Said Pasha
Succeeded byHüseyin Hilmi Pasha
In office
29 October 1912 – 23 January 1913
MonarchMehmed V
Preceded byAhmed Muhtar Pasha
Succeeded byMahmud Shevket Pasha
Personal details
Nicosia, Cyprus Sanjak, Ottoman Empire
Died14 November 1913 (aged 80)
Nicosia, British Cyprus
Political partyFreedom and Accord Party

Mehmed Kâmil Pasha (Ottoman Turkish: محمد كامل پاشا مصري زاده; Turkish: Kıbrıslı Mehmet Kâmil Paşa, "Mehmed Kamil Pasha the Cypriot"), also spelled as Kiamil Pasha (1833 – 14 November 1913), was an Ottoman statesman and liberal politician[1] of Turkish Cypriot origin in the late-19th-century and early-20th-century. He was the Grand Vizier of the Empire during four different periods.[2]


Kâmil Bey, 1860s

He was born in Nicosia in 1833, son of Captain Salih Ağa from the village of Pyrogi, in Cyprus. His first post was in the household of the Khedive of Egypt who at that time was only nominally dependent to the central Ottoman power in Constantinople. In the course of this appointment he visited London for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in charge of one of the Khedive's sons. Kiamil's sojourn in London left in him a lifelong admiration for Britain and during his career within the Ottoman state, he was always known to be an Anglophile.

Having full command of English, thenceforth to the close of his career he zealously sought the friendship of the United Kingdom for the Ottomans.

After remaining in Egypt for ten years, Mehmed Kamil exchanged the service of Abbas I for that of the Ottoman Government as of 1860 and for the ensuing nineteen years – that is to say until he first entered the Cabinet – he filled very numerous administrative appointments in every part of the Empire. He governed, or helped to govern provinces such as Eastern Rumelia, Hercegovina, Kosovo, and his native Cyprus.


Kâmil Pasha wearing the diplomatic uniform.
Enver Bey asking Kâmil Pasha to resign during the raid on the Sublime Porte.

His periods in office as premier were:

  • from 25 September 1885 to 4 September 1891, under Abdülhamid II's reign,
  • from 2 October 1895 to 7 November 1895, under Abdülhamid II's reign,
  • from 5 August 1908 to 14 February 1909, under Abdülhamid II's reign and during the Second Constitutional Era in the Ottoman Empire,
  • and from 29 October 1912 to 23 January 1913, under Mehmed V Reşad's reign and during the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire.

In May 1913, he returned to his native Cyprus which he had not seen since he had ceased to govern it as far back as 1864.

The reason was no happy one. After the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, Kamil initially had tried to compromise with the new men in power. But soon he decided to oppose the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) and became a figurehead of the more liberal and pro-decentralization opposition group of Young Turks, known as the Freedom and Accord Party (also Liberal Union or Entente). After the overthrow of the CUP regime in summer 1912 by the Savior Officers, he became Grand Vizier of the new Freedom and Accord Party government. He was appointed Grand Vizier for his friendly relations with the British (he was often known as İngiliz Kamil, or "English Kamil", for his Anglophilia[3]), in the hopes that he would be able to get favorable terms for the end of the ongoing, disastrous First Balkan War (since the victorious Bulgaria's foreign interests were represented by the British). In January 1913, Kamil's government decided to accept severe peace conditions including massive territorial losses.

The CUP in the military forces used this pretext for their second coup d'état on 23 January 1913. That day, Enver Bey, one of the CUP's military leaders, burst with some of his associates into the Sublime Porte while the Cabinet was in session. By most accounts, one of Enver's officers, Yakup Cemil, shot the Minister of War Nazım Pasha and the group pressed Kamil Pasha to resign immediately at gunpoint.

Kamil was put under house arrest and surveillance. The ex-Grand Vizier (who probably was in danger of life) was invited by his British friend Lord Kitchener to stay with him in Cairo. After three months in Egypt, Mehmed Kamil Pasha decided to wait a favourable turn of fortune in his native Cyprus.

Five weeks after his return to Cyprus, the assassination of his CUP successor to the premiership, Mahmud Shevket Pasha, occurred in June 1913, by a relative of Nazım Pasha to avenge his death. The CUP regime reacted with persecution of well-known opposition politicians. Djemal Pasha, then the CUP prefect of the capital Constantinople, indicated to Kamil's family that he had to leave the Ottoman Empire or he too would be arrested. His family joined his exile.

On 14 November 1913, while full of plans for revisiting England in 1914, Kamil Pasha suddenly died of syncope and was buried in the court of the Arab Ahmet Mosque.

Sir Ronald Storrs, British Governor of Cyprus from 1926 to 1932, caused a memorial to be raised over Kamil Pasha's grave. He also composed the English inscription, carved on the headstone below a Turkish one in old lettering. It runs as follows:

His Highness Kiamil Pasha
Son of Captain Salih Agha of Pyroi
Born in Nicosia in 1833
Treasury Clerk
Commissioner of Larnaca
Director of Evqaf
Four times Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
A Great Turk and
A Great Man.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Arabs and Young Turks".
  2. ^ İsmail Hâmi Danişmend, Osmanlı Devlet Erkânı, Türkiye Yayınevi, İstanbul, 1971 (Turkish)
  3. ^ Finkel, Caroline (1 August 2007). Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire. Basic Books. p. 523. ISBN 978-0-465-00850-6.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Vali of Aleppo
Succeeded by
Preceded by Vali of Aidin
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Religious Endowments
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Religious Endowments
Succeeded by
Preceded by Grand Vizier
Succeeded by
Preceded by Grand Vizier
Succeeded by
Preceded by Grand Vizier
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of the Council of State
Succeeded by
Preceded by Grand Vizier
Succeeded by
Notes and references
1. Kuneralp, Sinan (1999). Son dönem Osmanlı erkân ve ricali, 1839–1922 (in Turkish). Beylerbeyi, Istanbul: İsis.