5. Ottoman Empire/Albania (1905-1913)


Crisis Phase (November 1, 1905-December 31, 1905): Albanian nationalists led by Bajo Topulli established the Committee for the Liberation of Albania (CLA) in Bitola (Monastir) in November 1905.

Conflict Phase (January 1, 1906-August 23, 1912): The CLA rebelled against the Ottoman government beginning in January 1906. CLA rebels attacked Turkish government police and military targets between March 1906 and July 24, 1908, when the Sultan restored the 1876 constitution and granted autonomy to Albania. Albanian nationalists rebelled against the Ottoman government in Peja, Pristina (vilayet of Kosovo), and the vilayet of Scutari (Shkodër) beginning in March 1910. Some 40,000 Turkish troops commanded by General Shefket Turgut suppressed the rebellion in the vilayet of Kosovo in June 1910 and the vilayet of Scutari (Shkodër) in July 1910. The Ottoman government declared martial law in Albania on July 25, 1910. Albanian nationalists led by Ded Gjo Luli rebelled against the Ottoman government in northern Albania beginning on March 24, 1911. Albanian nationalists proclaimed a Provisional Government of Albania the headed by Dr. Terenc Toçi on April 27, 1911.  The Ottoman government declared martial law in Albania on May 11, 1911. Shevket Turgut Pasha, representing the Ottoman government, announced a general amnesty for Albanian rebels on June 18, 1911, and Albanian nationalist leaders demanded autonomy from the Ottoman government on June 23, 1911. The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire signed an amnesty decree on July 3, 1911, but Albanian rebels refused to surrender to Turkish troops. Ottoman government and Albanian nationalist representatives signed a ceasefire agreement in Podgorica on August 3, 1911. Some 8,000 Turkish government soldiers were killed or wounded during the conflict. Turkish government troops and Albanian rebels resumed military hostilities in Kosovo on April 23, 1912. Turkish troops and Albanian rebels clashed near Prizren on June 18, 1912, resulting in the deaths of some 200 Turkish soldiers. Albanian rebels captured Prishtina on July 22, 1912. Albanian nationalist and Ottoman government representatives held negotiations on August 1-11, 1912, during which the Albanian presented a list of fourteen demands to the Ottoman government on August 9, 1912. Ottoman troops and Albanian rebels resumed military hostilities on August 12, 1912. Turkish troops and Albanian rebels agreed to a cessation of military hostilities on August 23, 1912. Some 5,000 individuals were killed during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (August 24, 1912-May 30, 1913): The Ottoman government accepted the demands of the Albanian nationalists on September 4, 1912.  Serbian troops and Montenegrin troops laid siege to Scutari (Shkodër) in northern Albania beginning on October 8, 1912.  Albanian nationalists led by Ismail Kemal Bey (Ismail Qemal Bej) proclaimed the independence of Albania from the Ottoman Empire in the port of Valona (Vlorë) on November 28, 1912.  Serbian troops occupied Durrës on November 30, 1912.  Ismail Kemal Bey took office as president of the provisional government in Valona (Vlorë) on December 4, 1912.  Greek troops occupied southern Albania beginning on December 4, 1912, and President Ismail Kemal Bey referred the matter to the major European powers (Concert of Europe) on December 5, 1912.  Greek troops occupied the district of Korcë on December 6, 1912.  The ambassadors of the major powers (Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia) convened in London to discuss the Albanian question beginning on December 17, 1912.  On December 12, 1912, the major powers agreed to recognize Albania as an autonomous principality under the authority of the Ottoman Empire.  The governments of Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Montenegro opposed the independence of Albania.  In the London Protocol of March 22, 1913, the major powers defined the northern and northeastern borders of Albania, which included Scutari (Shkodër).  The major powers demanded the withdrawal of Serbian and Montenegrin troops from Albania on March 28, 1913, but Montenegro rejected the demand on April 2, 1913.  The major powers deployed naval ships commanded by Vice-Admiral Cecil Burney of Britain in the Adriatic Sea to provide humanitarian relief to Scutari (Shkodër) beginning on April 5, 1913. The major powers declared a blockade of Montenegrin ports on April 10, 1913.  Essad Pasha Toptani, military governor of Scutari (Shkodër), surrendered the city to Montenegrin troops on April 23, 1913.  Essad Pasha Toptani led a rebellion against the provisional government of President Ismail Kemal Bey in central Albania.  King Nicholas of Montenegro agreed to surrender Scutari (Shkodër) to the major powers on May 5, 1913, and Montenegrin troops withdrew from Scutari (Shkodër) on May 14, 1913. Some 1,000  naval personnel from Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Italy were deployed in Scutari (Shkodër) on May 14, 1913.  The major powers deployed a multinational force, eventually consisting of 339 British troops, 204 French troops, 115 German troops, 509 Austria-Hungarian troops, and 477 Italian troops, in Scutari (Shkodër), in June 1913.  The major powers established an temporary administration (five sectors) headed by Colonel George Fraser Phillips of Britain in Scutari (Shkodër) on May 14, 1913. The Ottoman Empire formally relinquish its sovereignty over Albania on May 30, 1913.

[Sources: Clodfelter, 1992, 612; Ference, 1994, 1-60; Jacques 1995; Jessup, 1998, 13-14; Kondis 1976; Pollo and Puto 1981; Schmidl, 1999, 1-10; Skendi 1967; Swire 1971.]