Mehdi Frashëri

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Mehdi Frashëri
Mehdi Frashëri.jpg
15th Prime Minister of Albania
In office
October 21, 1935 – November 9, 1936
Preceded byPandeli Evangjeli
Succeeded byKostaq Kota
In office
October 24, 1943 – November 3, 1943
Preceded byIbrahim Biçakçiu
Succeeded byRexhep Mitrovica
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
November 5, 1943 – July 21, 1944
Personal details
Born(1872-02-28)28 February 1872
Frashër, Albania (then Ottoman Empire)
Died25 May 1963(1963-05-25) (aged 91)
Rome, Italy
Spouse(s)Nejre Frashëri
RelationsRakip Frashëri (Father)
Aishe Çaçi (mother)
ChildrenVehbi Frashëri
Mediha Frashëri
Ragip Frashëri
Shehriar Frashëri
OccupationWriter, Civil servant, Politician, Diplomat
ProfessionPolitician, diplomat

Mehdi Frashëri (February 28, 1872 – May 25, 1963) was an Albanian intellectual and politician. He served as Prime Minister of Albania twice, the second term as Prime Minister of Albania's puppet government under Nazi Germany.


Early life[edit]

Mehdi Frashëri was born in 1872 in the village of Frashër Përmet. He studied in Konica and Monastir and graduated from the Mekteb-i Mülkiye in Istanbul in 1897.[1]
While in Constantinople, in 1901, he was charged with establishing a small press in a local house cellar for printing Albanian nationalistic materials together with a small group of Albanians.[2]

Early political career and interwar period[edit]

Frashëri served as Kaymakam of Peqin in central Albania between 1901 and 1903. After that he moved to Ohrid, where he joined the Secret Committee for the Liberation of Albania.[2] He was denounced by a group of local Muslims as an Albanian nationalist and a pro-Young Turk. He was governor of the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem under the Ottomans, mayor of Durrës under Prince Wied, minister in the Albanian government of 1918,[3] and minister of the interior in 1920.[4] On May 17, 1914 as a member of the International Commission of Control he signed the Protocol of Corfu.[5] He participated in the Congress of Durrës in December 1918.[3] In 1923, he was also Albania's representative in the League of Nations. During the 1930s he held significant posts, including that of the Prime Minister from 1935 to 1936.[4] In the early 1930s he participated in the civil code reforms committees along with Thoma Orollogaj and Hasan Dosti.

Italian occupation[edit]

Members of the Albanian cabinet. From left to right, Fuat Dibra, Mihal Zallari, Mehdi Frashëri, Father Anton Harapi, Rexhep Mitrovica and Vehbi Frashëri

Frashëri was against Benito Mussolini and disliked his policy of invading Albania.[6] Frasheri took it upon himself to broadcast scathing attacks against the invasion as well as addressing a remonstrance to Mussolini.[6] Following the departure of the government of Tirana, he urged young men with revolvers to distribute themselves to preserve order. When the invading troops were at the gates he sought asylum in the Turkish Legation, continuing to refuse to sign a declaration in support of the Italians. His personal courage impressed even the German minister, who successfully appealed to Rome to allow Frashëri to return home. Despite Italian guarantees, Frashëri was soon arrested and interned in Italy.[4]

Frashëri participated as "Honorary Chairman" of the Conference of Pezë, where Albanian anti-fascist factors gathered in 1942, a fact that would be suppressed by the communist regime later.[7]

Frashëri, who had sympathy for the Germans partly because he had studied in Austria, worked with German minister Erich von Luckwald, in the hopes of establishing closer relations and to gain some protection for the Albanians from the Italians.[4]

German occupation[edit]

After the capitulation of Italy, Nazi Germany took control of the Balkans. The Germans were apprised of his significance and began to search for him immediately after the invasion.[4] Frasheri was found and agreed, on 16 September, to return to Tirana for talks with Hermann Neubacher, Major Franz von Scheiger and Herr Schliep. After the end of the meeting, it was agreed that Albania would have its own sovereignty under Nazi Germany, similar to the Independent State of Croatia.[4]

Frashëri agreed to serve as regent as well as head the council. The leadership of the council was originally designed to rotate, but Lef Nosi declined for health reasons and Anton Harapi argued that as a Catholic monk he could accept no position in which he would be forced to sanction the death penalty. On November 3, 1943, Frashëri stepped down as Prime Minister and Rexhep Mitrovica took over. The Germans insisted that Frashëri still remain the head of the regency council.

After World War II[edit]

When the Partisans declared victory in Albania, the Germans evacuated, taking Mehdi Frashëri with them. Frashëri moved to Vienna and eventually settled in Rome, where he lived until his death.[4]


  1. ^ Nathalie CLAYER, The Albanian students of the Mekteb-i Mülkieye, in E. Özdalga (ed.), Late Ottoman Society, The Intellectual Legacy, London & New York, RoutledgeCurzon, 2005, pp. 289-308.
  2. ^ a b Elisabeth Özdalga (March 16, 2011). Late Ottoman Society: The Intellectual Legacy. Soas/Routledge Curzon Studies on the Middle East. Routledge. pp. 301–302. ISBN 978-0415665445.
  3. ^ a b Kongresi i Durrësit, 25 dhjetor 1918 [Congress of Durres, Dec 25 1918] (in Albanian), Gazeta Republika, 2012-12-27, retrieved 2013-12-15
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Bernd Jürgen Fischer. Albania at war, 1939-1945. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  5. ^ Albania's Captives. Pyrrhus J. Ruches. 1965. P. 91.
  6. ^ a b Owen Pearson. Albania in the twentieth century: a history, Volume 3. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  7. ^ Robert Elsie (2010), Historical Dictionary of Albania, Historical Dictionaries of Europe, 75 (2 ed.), Scarecrow Press, p. 88, ISBN 978-0810861886, Mehdi bey Frashëri was honorary chairman of the gathering, a fact later suppressed in communist historiography. The conference set in place a joint national liberation movement (Lëvizje Nacionalçlirimtare) with a provisional eight-member council, among whom were Enver Hoxha and Abaz Kupi, though the movement was increasingly dominated by the communists and eventually broke apart.
Political offices
Preceded by
Pandeli Evangjeli
Prime Minister of Albania
October 22, 1935–November 9, 1936
Succeeded by
Koço Kota
Preceded by
Eqrem Libohova
Prime Minister of Albania (under Nazi Germany)
October 24, 1943–November 3, 1943
Succeeded by
Rexhep Mitrovica