Long portrayed in the west, and throughout the Arab world, as an Albanian soldier who emerged from obscurity to become the founder of the modern Egyptian state, Mehmed Ali Paşa was in fact an Ottoman Turk from his birth in the Macedonian port of Kavala (1770-1771) until his death in Alexandria, Egypt (1849). The present work is a modest attempt to illustrate this all too often overlooked historical reality. It seeks to evaluate his career, not on the basis of the stories he regaled European visitors with in his waning years, i.e., after a long career in Egypt, as first the province’s Ottoman governor-general, and later as its de facto viceroy, but rather on the basis of an overlooked but important aspect of his life, namely, the lifelong attachment he maintained with the town of his birth, Kavala, in what was then Ottoman Macedonia, and today is northeastern Greece.
The Muslim minority of western Thrace is one of the few native Muslim minorities in Europe. Despite the fact that it is basically a conservative community, committed to Islam, extreme groups have never appeared and its conservatism never turned to fundamentalism. The main reason for this successful progress is the Greek policy, not only during the first crucial years of Greek domination from 1920 to 1928, but as early as 1912 and the experiences of the Balkan wars. This edition examines the past by attempting to investigate the origins of the formation of Greek policy for the Muslim minority of Thrace and answers the question of the causes that shaped the present situation.
The lengthy engagement of the diplomat and the writer of the book Mr.Theodoro Theodorou with the minority issue has led to the finding that the rich literature, created for the purpose of analysis and legal development of the Treaty of Lausanne, does not record the development of the Muslim minority in relation to minorities in Europe and the International Community. This book aims at confirming this “ignorance” among younger generations. Ignorance which not only deprive us of our self-consciousness, but also of the breadth of our perception about the aspects of an issue that is an invaluable cultural treasure for all of us.