Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha

Osmanlı Sadrazamı, Devlet Adamı

03 Nisan, 1922

Statesman, grand vizier (B. 1855, Mytilene – D. April 3rd, 1922, Vienna). He was born in the village Sarlıca on the island of Lesbos. His father was Kütahyalızâde Molla Mustafa Efendi who was a merchant. He was trained in the Ulucami Madrasah in Midilli. In the meantime he graduated from the rüştiye (secondary school). He took lessons from private tutors in French and fiqh (Islamic law). He received a diploma of “first-class litigation attorney” with an exam from the Courthouse Council of the Province of Cezayir-i Bahr-i Sefid. He started his initial service in the Midilli Official Writing Department. He was respectively raised to the position as the officer of registration jobs in the mobile department of Midilli Real Estate Department then to the Real Estate Department, incident literary composition position and then to the head literary composition of the same department. In the meantime, he met Namık Kemal, who was put in probation in Lesbos and was influenced by his libertarian ideas. Hüseyin Hilmi Efendi, who read all works of Namık Kemal and became a fan of his new ideas, was known as his disciple and follower.

When Namık Kemal was appointed as the lieutenant governor of Lesbos, he assigned Hüseyin Hilmi as the director of editorial office in Lesbos (1881). Hüseyin Hilmi, who attracted the attentions of his superiors with his hard work, was appointed to the editorial officer position in Aydın in 1883 by being promoted after spending nine years of his service on the island where he was born. During this service, he received the rank of brigadier general. He was appointed to the Syria editorial office in 1885 and became an honorary member of the commission that ruled lands of the Sultan in Syria and remained in this position for six years. After having resigned from the editorial office (1891), he was temporarily appointed as the Director of the farms of the sultan in Burdur district. Even though he was sent to the administration of the territory of the sultan in Baghdad the following year (1892), he resigned by putting forward his illness as a reason. He became the district governor of Mersin in 1893. Two months later he was transferred to the Maan (Kerek) governorate. After serving in the governorates of Nablus and Süleymaniye, he was appointed to the governorate of Adana (1897). However this service lasted only for nine months. His malicious activities were detected and he was dismissed due to not having apologized from Austria because of the events happened during the transfer of the Austrian consul in Mersin to abroad (November 17th, 1897). 

Abdülhamid  II sent Hüseyin Hilmi to the governorate of Yemen in order to suppress the events caused by İmam Yahya (April 21st, 1898). The sultan, who wanted to gain the sympathy of the people of Yemen and establish a good governance by this way, ordered that all provincial officers, especially the governor, would wrap a turban, wear robe and baggy. He awarded the Governor Huseyin Hilmi with ministry (May 31st, 1899).

Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha, who stayed in Yemen for five years, was seriously injured in the assassination attempted by a person who was provoked by a district governor dismissed by him and could not serve for a long time. In addition, he was dismissed due to being in bad relations with the army indicator, Abdullah Pasha (November 1902). Ten days later, he was appointed to the newly established General Inspectorate of Rumelia (December 2nd, 1902). Hüseyin Hilmi, having remained in this position for six years, made the most brilliant and most useful services of his official life during this service. General Rumelia Inspectorate which included the provinces of Monastery, Kosovo and of Thessaloniki was established in order to avoid the work of Bulgarian gangs and create a good management in Macedonia. Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha, the head of the general inspectorate organization that had self-government characteristic, prevented the works of foreign forces in the region. He managed to found a good working government as well was not being able to prevent the confusion in the inspector area. He gained the great respect of the sultan as well as winning the foreigners’ favor. He was very influential enough that no writings of him were being refused in the Sublime Porte.

Besides having been committed to the Abdülhamit II, Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha managed to establish good relations with İttihadçılar (T.N. Unionists). The task of Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha ended when the Rumelia General Inspectorate was removed after the proclamation of the Second Constitution (1908). He returned to Istanbul upon being the Minister of the Interior for the newly established Government of Kâmil Pasha (November 27th, 1908). The role of his proximity with the Unionists was great in issuing the Pasha with the ministry. Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha soon revealed that he was the competitor of Kâmil Pasha. Upon his resignation due to having found the change format of War and Navy Ministers in conflict with the constitutional system of government, the other ministers followed him and the government of Kâmil Pasha was overthrown. Then, he was appointed as the Prime Minister instead of Kâmil Pasha while also remaining as the Minister of the Interior (13-14 February 1909).

However, he was exposed to the onslaught of the opponents that was formed against the Unionists. Even though he managed to resolve the problem of the independence of Bulgaria and the disputes with Austria that took Bosnia and Herzegovina partially, he couldn’t manage to straighten the internal state. The March 31st Events (April 13th, 1909) broke out due to the lack of ability of the government which was committed to the rules of the Constitutional Monarchy in taking action against the slanderers. Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha submitted the resignation of the government by going to the Yıldız Palace in the afternoon on the first day of the rebellion. Thus, his grand vizierate that lasted for a month and twenty-seven days came to an end. Ahmed Tevfik Pasha was appointed as the Grand Vizier after him. He appeared after the entrance of the Hareket Army in Istanbul and Sultan Reşat’s coming to the throne instead of Sultan Abdülhamid II (April 27th, 1909). He was appointed as the Prime Minister for the second time instead of Tevfik Pasha, who resigned upon the will of Unionists, to get their hands on state affairs directly(May 5th, 1909).

The second Grand Vizierate of Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha was not very successful. This period passed with solving the problems of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bulgaria, soothing the events in Adana, providing the order and applying the decisions of Dîvân-ı Harb-i Örfî (the War Crimes Tribunal). The outburst of the soldiers with the low degree, who were proud to surpass the March 31st Event, reached to the advanced stage. Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha, who couldn’t make budget and other laws accepted in the parliament, had to resign eight months later (December 28th, 1909).

Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha, who continued membership of the Âyan Meclisi (Senate) where he was appointed after his Grand Vizierate (November 14th, 1909), went on a trip to Russia, visited Kazan on 15th April, 1909. There he met with well-known Turkologists such as N. İvonoviç, Aşmirin, Nikolay Fyodoroviç Katanov, he toured the sights of the city. His three-day trip to Kazan had a broad repercussion in the Russian and Tatar media and his travel notes were published in Kazan as a small book with the title “Turétskiy sled v arhivah Tatarstana”. Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha, who served as the Chairman of the Fiscal Council of the Upper House for a few years, played an important role in the restating of the financial affairs and prevention of waste.

He served as a Minister of Justice in the “Great Cabinet” founded by Gazi Ahmed Muhtar Pasha (July 22nd, 1912). Gazi Ahmed Muhtar Pasha sent out the National Assembly, majority of which were formed of the Unionists with the help of Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha. Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha was seen as the most influential person in the government. For this reason, he was seen responsible for the mistakes of the government. Unionists accused him due to the abolition of parliament. Pasha wasn’t regretting what he had done and he was trying to convince those who complained. However, he realized that it would not be appropriate to stay in the government upon the leading of the cascade of events in Rumelia to the Balkan War (October 8th, 1912).

Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha, who left Istanbul by being appointed to the legateship of the Vienna, had no knowledge and experience in diplomacy (October 28th, 1912). All of his knowledge about Europe was based on his tour of five or six months that he had had a few years ago and the data he collected from daily newspapers. Therefore, he couldn’t show the success in the diplomacy that he had in the civil administration. In the meantime, the Pasha, who straightened his relations with the Unionists, supported their pro-war policies. He continued his Vienna Legateship service until the removal of the Ottoman legateships at the end of the 1st World War. He didn’t return to Istanbul after the war, he continued to live in a mansion with his family where he leased around Vienna and he died here. His funeral was brought to Istanbul and buried around the Yahya Efendi Dervish Lodge in Beşiktaş.

Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha was generally successful in his governing life that lasted thirty five years until his Grand Vizierate. He was referred as an honest, diligent, hardworking and intellectual person. He was famous for making innovations in his services. However, there are some sayings that he could not show the same success during his Grand Vizierate periods. However, he gained the confidence of Sultan Abdülhamid II; it is also known that he was a Grand Vizier who was also appreciated by Sultan Reşat.



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