Said Halim
Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
In office
12 June 1913 – 4 February 1917
MonarchMehmed V
Preceded byMahmud Shevket Pasha
Succeeded byTalaat Pasha
Personal details
Born18 or 28 January 1865 or 19 February 1864
Cairo, Khedivate of Egypt
Died6 December 1921(1921-12-06) (aged 56)
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
NationalityOttoman (Khedival Egyptian)
RelationsMuhammad Ali of Egypt (grandfather)

Mehmed Said Halim Pasha (Ottoman Turkish: سعيد حليم پاشا; Turkish: Sait Halim Paşa; 18 or 28 January 1865 or 19 February 1864[1] – 6 December 1921) was an Ottoman statesman of Albanian origin[2] who served as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1917. He was one of the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide and later assassinated by Arshavir Shirakian as part of Operation Nemesis, a retribution campaign to kill perpetrators of the Armenian genocide.


Born at the palace of Shubra in Cairo, Egypt, he was the grandson of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, often considered the founder of modern Egypt. He was educated by private teachers and later in Switzerland.[3] In 1890[3] or 1895,[4] he married Emine İnci Tosun, daughter of Mehmed Tosun Pasha. In the late 1890s the Palace of Said Halim Pasha in Downtown Cairo was built for him by the Italian architect Antonio Lasciac.

When Britain annexed Egypt in 1914, he claimed the throne of the Egyptian monarchy based on a firman which changed Egyptian succession law half a century ago.

He succeeded Mahmud Shevket Pasha following his assassination, and was both Grand Vizier and Foreign Minister. He was a compromise candidate for the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP); Said Halim was loosely affiliated with the committee, and more conservative and Islamist than the central committee would have wanted, however the prestige of his ancestry and his lack of agency made him an acceptable Grand Vizier to the CUP.

He was one of the signers in Ottoman–German Alliance. Yet, he resigned after the incident of the pursuit of the Goeben and the Breslau, an event which served to bring the Ottoman Empire into the Great War. It is claimed that Mehmed V wanted a person in whom he trusted as Grand Vizier, and that he asked Said Halim to stay in his post as long as possible.

During the Armenian genocide, Said Halim signed the deportation orders for the Armenian population. The Armenian Patriarch Zaven I Der Yeghiayan appealed to him to cease the terror being committed against Armenians, which Said Halim replied to by claiming reports of arrests and deportations were being greatly exaggerated. Der Yeghiayan himself was later deported.[5]

He lost his Foreign Ministry in 1915. Said Halim's premiership lasted until 1917, cut short because of continuous clashes between him and the CUP. The Interior Minister Mehmed Talaat Pasha succeeded him, and implemented many radical and secularizing pre-Kemalist reforms.

Said Halim was accused of treason during the court martial trials after World War I in the Ottoman Empire, as he had his signature under Ottoman–German Alliance. He was exiled on 29 May 1919 to a prison on Malta.[6] He was acquitted from the accusations and set free in 1921, and he moved to Sicily. He wanted to return to Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, but this request was rejected. He was assassinated soon after in Rome by Arshavir Shirakian, an agent of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, for his role in the Armenian genocide.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Şeyhun 2014, p. 147 gives 28 January; Wasti 2008, p. 86 gives 18 January and in endnote 20, p. 102 states that Düzdağ 1991, p. xiii gives 19 February 1864.
  2. ^ Danişmend (1971), p. 102
  3. ^ a b Wasti 2008, p. 86.
  4. ^ Şeyhun 2014, p. 147.
  5. ^ a b Arshavir Shirakian (2013). Arshavir Shiragian - The Legacy: Memoirs of an Armenian Patriot. Translated by Sonia Shiragian. Watertown, Massachusetts: Hairenik Association.
  6. ^ Sukran Vahide (2005). Islam in Modern Turkey. State University of New York Press.


Political offices Preceded byMahmud Şevket Pasha Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire 12 June 1913 – 4 February 1917 Succeeded byTalaat Pasha