Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of the Greek government’s plans for a possible uprising in Albania in 1886 through Gani Toptan, the Tirana bey, the sucker of one of the most prominent families in central Albania. Who were the merchants from Tirana and Durrës who supported the bey toptanas, who was received with special honors in Athens by the Greek Prime Minister, Deli-Jani, the king and queen? All the secret talks and promises they made for money which they would provide in banks and war materials, which were then deconspired by the two special envoys of Istanbul in the city of Shkodra, Tefik bey and Sulejman bey, causing Gani bey Toptani to be arrested by the Valiu of the city, Mustafa Pasha!
Although Albania was located in one of the farthest and most lost corners of the Ottoman Empire, and also showing no great interest compared to the other states it ruled, the four heads of the vilayets that ruled this country, were obliged to report regularly to the High Gate in Istanbul on everything that happened there, even giving very detailed information. But even though these reports were extremely accurate and left no doubt about misinformation or concealment of things, the Sultan was not content with just that. Occasionally in that remote place where the limits of his possessions ended, he sent special envoys whom he selected from the most trusted people, and from them he received reports with secret information about everything that was possible, putting in foreground that information which had to do with any possible danger posed to the empire by the rebellious infidels. This was also the case in June 1886, when the two special envoys of the Sultan in the Vilayet of Shkodra, Ahmet Tefik bey and Sulejman bey, informed him of a secret plan that the Greeks had hatched in Albania, through Gani bey Toptan, one of the suckers of the famous Tirana family, whose brother, Esat Pasha, in those years held the post of Thessaloniki Police Chief. But what was the plan of the Athenian government with Gani Bey, what was his intention and when was it supposed to be carried out? Who were the other people in Tirana and Durrës who had given their support to the Bey of Tirana and what talks did he have in Athens with the Greek Prime Minister Deli-Jani and the King and Queen of Greece, who received him with special honors at their castle located on the outskirts of the Hellenic capital? How did that plan fail and how did the arrest of Gani Bey, who was kept isolated in Rozafa castle by the Governor of Shkodra, Mustafa Pasha, become possible? Regarding these and many other facts, we know the detailed report of the two envoys of the Sultan in the Vilayet of Shkodra, which we are publishing below in this article without changing anything from the text found in its original near the archive of Institute of History in Tirana. This document that we are publishing with some abbreviations, was translated many years ago by the famous Albanian orientalist from Berat, Vexhi Buharaja, who also made some explanatory notes there.
Report of the two envoys of the Sultan from Shkodra
In one of the rooms of the barracks that is being completed, during the inspection we saw a boy in an Albanian suit. We asked Commander Pasha about the reason for the arrest. The commander told us that this was Gani bey, one of the aristocrats of Tirana, who a year or so ago, in order to serve the Greek interests, had wanted to make an uprising in Albania and for this purpose had secret connections with the Greek government. For this matter he had gone as far as Athens, and preparations for the outbreak of the uprising had almost been completed. Meanwhile the bey in question began to attract our attention. Therefore, we received information from Valiu bey about Gani: This man, in cooperation with some merchants from Durrës and Tirana, had tried to revolt and for this purpose had gone as far as Athens. When his evil intent was learned, he was summoned to the center of the vilayet to give explanations, but he did not listen and attempted to flee. Thanks to the immediate measures taken by the government of Durrës, from where he intended to escape, the escape had not been successful. Gani bey, seeing that he had no choice but to obey Valiu’s order, had left the thieves, a total of about thirty, that he had with him, and with five or six people had left for Shkodra to appear at Veli Pasha. He had treated him well, had taken measures to stop his escape and had left him free to walk around the city. But when Valiu was informed that he had sought the help of a Montenegrin living in Shkodra to escape to Montenegro, he had ordered his arrest, as something that had already become necessary. His arrest has made a very good impression on the people of Tirana, because he, exalted because of his young age, has terrorized his compatriots, demanding this money and other things, and threatened in case of refusal, in burning houses and destroying all their property. All these evils, he has done in order to gain name and fame, to oppress the people there. Even a year and a half ago, on Easter, he was arrested and tried in Bitola, accused of murder: but in the end, how on Easter did he get the acquittal released from prison (by paying) some 1500 lira, which he borrowed on Easter. Thinking that we were dealing with an important and serious matter here, we found it reasonable to meet and talk to him face to face. We informed Vali Pasha of this and asked him to set a special day, where he would take us to Gani bey and leave us alone with him. So one day we went to the aforementioned beu. In order not to give him cause to worry and doubt about this meeting, we did him some respect and a very good treatment. The conversation about the issue in question lasted about three hours. Beu mentioned above, not being able to deny the subversive work and activity for which he was accused, confessed without hesitation all that he had done. He tried to present this activity as a service to the nation and wanted to put himself among the people who have worked for the religion and the nation. Of course he was constrained to take this pose. Nevertheless, from the behavior and expression of his face it is clear that like the sunlight, that he is the hand that has performed this subversive activity. We are presenting below in summary form, the depositions he made in connection with this matter.
Deposits of Gani bej Toptan
Gani Bey started the talks for the uprising with the Orthodox Jorgji Papa and Petro Shallvari, merchants in Tirana and his people, Pavli from Tirana and Zisi Margariti from Durrës. Through these he met the former dragoman (translator, our note), of the Greek consul in Bitola. Finally, the above orthodox had reported the matter to the Greek government. The latter had sought to know what tools needed to be prepared to ensure the success of the uprising. Then the above-mentioned dragoman had come (to Tirana?) And had received the opinion of Gani Bey for this. He had told him that he needed 50,000 lira, about 2,000 pounds (rifles), and a sufficient quantity of cannons and torpedoes. After some time he had called one of his men named Dalip bey, and told him that he would take him with him to Istanbul. After receiving a personal letter from George Pope to a colonel in Athens, whose name you do not remember, he left Durrës and went to Athens. Meanwhile he had met Zisi Margariti, who had come before him to Athens. Through this he had given the above letter to the colonel and had met with it. Gani bey had fallen into the hotel-restaurant (Lokont) of a man named Seva. Here he met Stefain Kapedani, a Greek citizen who had previously been involved with cousins who had previously been involved in robbery in the province of Bitola, as well as with a gang leader whose name he did not remember, only knowing that he had caused the kajmekami and the judge of Florina to flee to the mountains.
Greek Prime Minister Deli-Jani instructs Gani Bey
Then the colonel had taken Gani bey and his friend, Dalip made to the then prime minister, Mr. Deli-Jani. Here was determined the amount of money, cannons and rifles that would be needed for the uprising, it was decided that they would go to the port of Skanderbeg in front of Durres with a Greek ship, sending for this purpose a sufficient number of soldiers. After Gani Bey had prepared up to 2000 Albanians on his part and after receiving the above material, he would declare an uprising and occupy Durrës. In order not to draw the attention of the empire in this regard, he would address the issue by telegraph to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the empire, that in order to serve the religion of the empire he was ready to immediately leave the border with a 2000 auxiliary soldiers, therefore to be authorized for the gathering of this military force. In addition, when the uprising broke out, he would telegraph the states with all the work with the words: “We do not want the Ottoman Empire, we want Greece.” Mr. Deli-Jani had finally shown and handed over to him the detailed plan of the uprising and had instructed him to act on the basis of this. After that, Gani bey was received by the king and queen of Greece in the castle of these located an hour away from Athens. The king had told him that he knew well that the Albanians were the old brothers of the Greeks and that in case of war with the Ottoman Empire, they (Albanians) would join the Greeks. He had said the same things to the queen. The next day the former met again several times with Deli-Jan. Ganiu also said that the reason he had been received by the king in the palace of this one who was outside had been a mere matter not to be agreed upon by the Ottoman embassy. After that, Gani had returned to his homeland.
The Greek government provides Gani with money in the bank
He also said that when he left, he had received strong assurances from Athens that for any damage that might be done to them (Gani and his friend), the Greek government would be held accountable, assuring them that he would leave a sufficient guarantee in that bank that they would like. In addition, he had met with Prenk Dhorë (Doda?) From Mirdita, first in Corfu and then in Tirana, and it was possible to contact him about this issue. Prenka, for his part, had told him that Bulgaria would start an uprising and that Greece would declare war on the Ottoman Empire, that even the Christians in Istanbul would start with the necessary preparations, and that they were not even involved in this work alone. these, but also many persons from the imperial palace; with the help of the latter on the throne of the empire — God forbid — dynamite would be melted (?). Asked who these people in the palace were and what he knew most about them, he replied that he had not talked to Prenk Dhorë (Dodë?) More than that and did not know further on the matter. Finally, Gani bey, after returning to Tirana, had first talked to the Albanian nobility of Tirana and other areas, had informed them of his intention for uprising and had also asked for their cooperation. He had even addressed the people of Mirdita, but they had not accepted and he had replied with these words: “By declaring the uprising against the Ottoman Empire, we want (to gain) our independence, for this purpose we willingly respond to any call that may “It is done for us and we are ready to start with the actions, but we do not accept in any way to join the Greek government”. (underlines are by translators). So he to save himself, perhaps for fear that the calls (for insurrection) he had made to others, might fall on the ears of the government and thus put him in position, merely for selfish purposes and with the false hope that he was doing a service to religion and the empire as he had first written in a letter to Veli Pasha, through which he expressed the desire that he wanted to meet him and that he had to reveal some secrets that were very useful for the empire and the nation. . However, Veli Pasha had been informed of his plans long before and when he had met and left for Tirana, he had received the above letter and had left for Tirana. So, today this Gani bey is arrested in Shkodra and is being questioned by Veli Pasha. For the investigation of the case in a more in-depth way, Valiu has called in Shkodra Gani’s brother, Esat.
Greek plans to send gangs to Albania
The governor of Shkodra, Mustafa Asim Pasha, has been governing this vilayet well for almost three years now, with his quality as Governor and Commander. This is evidenced by the successes he has had, such as: banning Shkodra residents from carrying weapons, protecting the interests of the empire at the border, municipal and military construction, ending some turmoil caused by some people like Jusuf Zija Pasha, the discovery of the case of Gani bey. From all this it is understood that the above-mentioned is one of the faithful slaves of His Majesty and a man of initiative and will. Nevertheless, from the tone of the conversation we had with him, it was understood that he is to some extent affected and desperate by the intrigues that are being hatched against him in Istanbul by some people like Yusuf Zija Pasha. Despite this despair, he does not stop working for the empire. Through Gani he was able to be informed in advance about the Greek plans to send to Albania continuously even after the uprising that Gani would make, bandits in order to disturb and open work to the Ottoman government, also, from the talks he had with the Greek consul (certainly in Shkodra), was able to learn in time other plots of the Greek government. I think that if it is considered reasonable to give in some way to the above-mentioned, for the purpose of stimulation, any imperial favor, it would make him increase his activity even more in the future…
(June 27, 1886) Slaves: Ahmet Teufik, son of Salih. (Vulat): Sulejman beu.
Report of the two envoys of the Sultan: “Yusuf Zija Pasha, is intriguing and deceitful”
In addition to numerous testimonies and details regarding the Greek plan for a possible uprising in Albania through Gani bey Toptan, the two envoys of the High Gate of Istanbul, Ahmet Teufik bey and Sulejman bey, in their letter dated 27 June of 1886, inform the Sultan about the situation in which the vilayet of Shkodra was at that time. In this regard, among other things, it reads: “We are presenting to you as follows the results of our direct investigations and the information we were able to gather during our short stay in Shkodra regarding the situation of the civil and military administration of the vilayet of Shkodra as well as on the internal situation of the vilayet in general: From the comprehensive investigations we made regarding the former prefect of Shkodra, Jusf Zija Pasha, it turned out that this, driven by greed for position, to secure the post of Vali of Shkodra vilayet , had tried by means of intrigues and tricks to make for himself some of the nobility of the vilayet, thus becoming the cause of an honorable and dangerous state of public tranquility. The departure of the vali, who a year ago was sent on a mission to the border with Montenegro, the above mentioned tried to use to carry out his plan. On the one hand, he had personally worked to make for himself the nobility of the vilayet, and on the other hand a man named Zejnel bey, who served his purposes, had appointed him the voivode of the highlanders, using this as a tool for him. disturbing the minds of the masses of the people through slander and lies. Since the highlanders are made up of Muslims and Christians, the empire has for some time set some special laws and norms here. In order to supervise the implementation of these norms, in this vilayet there has been a tradition that could not be violated, to have here a special person in charge of the title “Vojvodë i maleve”. Thus by this, Zejnel bey, the above-mentioned had tried to infuriate the highlanders against Vali. Taking advantage of the issue of banning the carrying of weapons in the city by the inhabitants of Shkodra, which is truly one of the greatest successes of the Vali in question, he had spread provocative nonsense and put into action all sorts of intrigues by telling the mountain population that Valiu would collect the rifles, that he would introduce the system of directing in the vilayets and liquidate the old privileges. He had tried to get a statement signed by the higher authorities stating that the people of the vilayet were satisfied with him. Some of the city nobility foresaw that these actions of the ignorant man that were done to win the hearts of the people would finally cause a stir in the people, which would bring all kinds of unrest. They had therefore written to Vali, reporting the matter in detail. For this reason, Valiu had returned to Shkodra and thanks to the necessary measures he had taken, he had restored calm. There is talk of the existence of several reports, in which the former mytesarif in question is accused of many other evils of this kind and of bribery. It is clear that whether these accusations, or the essence and purpose of the disturbing slogans he had spread among the people, driven by the vain hope of seizing the post, would have come to light if that he appears before the court ”./Memorie.al