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Reşid Mehmed Pasha: Wikis

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Reşid Mehmed Pasha, also known as Kütahı (Greek: Μεχμέτ Ρεσίτ πασάς Κιουταχής, 1780 - 1839) was a prominent Ottoman general and Grand Vizier in the first half of the 19th century, playing an important role in the Greek War of Independence.

Contents

Early life

Reşid Mehmed was born in Georgia, the son of a Greek Orthodox priest. As a child, he was captured as a slave by the Turks, and brought to the service of the then Kaptan Pasha, Koca Mehmed Hüsrev Pasha. His intelligence and ability impressed his master, and secured his rapid rise. At only 29 years, he was appointed governor of Kütahya, from where he acquired his sobriquet.

In 1820, he was sent by Sultan Mahmud II, along with many other pashas, to quell the rebellion of Ali Pasha of Yannina against the Porte. At the same time, the Greeks were preparing their own uprising, which broke out in March 1821. Thus, after the defeat and death of Ali Pasha in 1822, he was at hand to campaign against the Greek rebels.

Operations in Epirus - First Siege of Messolonghi

Having been appointed commander-in-chief of the Ottoman forces in Epirus, he marched south, to meet the Greek forces under Alexandros Mavrokordatos which were campaigning towards Arta. He inflicted a crushing defeat upon them in the Battle of Peta, on 4 July 1822, and proceeded southwards, to the strategically important town of Messolonghi. There he was met by Omar Vrioni, and their joint force of 8,000 besieged the city for two months, from 25 October to 31 December 1822. Omar Vrioni, contrary to Reşid Mehmed's view, initially tried to take the town by negotiations, which the besieged Greeks took advantage of, dragging them out until November 8, when they were reinforced by sea, at which point they refused to negotiate further. The siege began in earnest, and the two pashas scheduled their main assault for Christmas night, December 24, calculating that the Greeks would be caught by surprise. The plan was leaked to the defenders, and the attack failed. Six days later, the siege was lifted.

Campaign in Thessaly

After the failure at Messolonghi, Reşid Mehmed moved against the mountainous region of Mount Pelion in Magnesia, which he managed to subdue.[1] For his success, he was appointed governor of the sanjak of Trikala, and was finally appointed commander-in-chief of all Ottoman forces in Rumelia.

Third Siege of Messolonghi

From this position he was tasked by the Porte with taking Messolonghi and thus securing western Greece. Reşid Mehmed assembled an army of more than 35,000 and in February 1825 he set out for Messolonghi. On arriving there on April 20, he immediately invested the town with earthworks and, from June on, subjected it to heavy bombardment.[2] However, despite his efforts, the Greek garrison, aided by raids from the Greek bands behind his lines and resupplied by the Greek fleet, resisted effectively. In the end, he was forced to call upon the assistance of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt, whose army had been victorious against Greek forces in the Morea. The Egyptian forces arrived in early November, but a split occurred between the presumptuous Ibrahim and Reşid Mehmed, who withdrew his forces. After the Egyptians failed too in their assaults, Ibrahim acknowledged his error. The two pashas now cooperated, and the siege was intensified. The seaward supply route was cut, forcing threatening the defenders with starvation. Finally, they attempted a desperate escape, breaking out through the besieging forces, on the night of 10 April 1826. The sortie resulted in a massacre of the defenders, and Messolonghi fell to the Ottoman forces.

Campaign in Attica

After this success, Reşid Mehmed turned towards Attica and Athens, where he arrived in July. He besieged the Greek garrison on the Acropolis unsuccessfully for ten months, until his victory over a Greek relief force at the Battle of Phaleron on 24 April 1827 forced the Greeks to surrender the fort.

After the Greek Revolution

In January 1829, Reşid Mehmed was appointed Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, a post he held from January 1829 to 17 February 1833. He fought in the Russo-Turkish War, where he was defeated by General Diebitsch at the Battle of Kulevicha.[3] In 1830-31, Reşid Mehmed suppressed the Albanian revolt of Mustafa Pasha around Monastir.[4] Subsequently, he led the Ottoman armies in Anatolia in the Egyptian-Ottoman War, but was captured by the forces of his old antagonist, Ibrahim Pasha, at the Battle of Konya in 1832.[5] Released from Egyptian captivity, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Anatolian armies, he campaigned against the Kurds, and died at Sivas in 1839.

Notes

  1. ^ Finlay (1861), p. 7
  2. ^ Finlay (1861), pp. 84-86
  3. ^ Aksan (2007), pp. 353-354
  4. ^ Aksan (2007), pp. 358-359
  5. ^ Aksan (2007), pp. 372-373
Preceded by
Topal İzzet Mehmet Pasha
Grand Vizier
28 January 1829 - 17 February 1833
Succeeded by
Mehmet Emin Rauf Pasha

Sources

  • Finlay, George. History of the Greek Revolution. W. Blackwood and Sons, 1861 (Harvard University).
  • Aksan, Virginia H. Ottoman wars 1700-1870: an empire besieged. Pearson Education, 2007 (ISBN 978-0582308077)
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