9. The Albanian Uprising 1912

The Albania Uprising of 1912 was led by Hasan Prishtina. It was basically directed against the Young Turks’ policy and aimed at autonomy, although the nature of that autonomy was never fully defined. The Uprising saw successive victories of the rebel Albanians against the Ottomans culminating in the rebels taking Skopje, the capital of the Kosovo villajet. The Turks then accepted most of Hasan Prishtina’s 14 Points and the Albanian fighters began to disband. These events had further weakened the Ottomans and, hence, other Balkans states, the Balkan League, saw their chance to reap gains from the Turkish vulnerability.

Albanians insisted on the independence of their country, but the Ottoman Empire would not recognise it, and so Albanians across the territory were thrown into a war against their rulers. However, Albanians found themselves in a difficult position as in order to liberate themselves they had to fight against the Ottomans on the one hand and on the other hand against neighbouring states – Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece – to protect themselves. In the beginning, the Ottoman Empire did not accept their demand for autonomy, but when the rebels headed for Skopje, the capital of the vilayet of Kosovo, and liberated it in August 1912, the demand was accepted, but with some changes. Because of the armed provocation offered by Montenegro, the rebels came to an agreement with the Ottomans and declared the uprising to be at an end.

[Rexhepi, Fehmi and Frashër Demaj. Historia 5. Prishtina: Libri Shkollor, 2013, pages 68-77; Bajraktari, Jusuf, Fehmi Rexhepi and Frashër Demaj. Historia 10. Prishtina: Libri Shkollor, 2011, pages 74-81; Abdyli, Ramiz and Emine Bakalli. Historia 11. Prishtina: Libri Shkollor, 2012, pages 188-195; Bajraktari, Jusuf and Arbër Salihu. Historia 12. Prishtina: Libri Shkollor, 2013, pages 144- 154.]

The Albanian uprising of 1912 does not feature at all.

The general uprising of 1912, led by Hasan Prishtina, initially aimed at territorial autonomy within the Ottoman Empire, with official recognition of the borders of the territory with Albanian majorities and ethnically Albanian civil and military authorities. As a result of internal divisions and after they had taken control of the territory of Kosovo in the summer of 1912, the leaders of the Albanian uprising put forward a new political platform of fourteen demands (known as the 14 points of Hasan Prishtina), which envisaged non-territorial autonomy – with no explicit mention of Albania’s army or borders. The points mainly dealt with education, agriculture, trade and transport, but also included the declaration of a general amnesty for the rebels, reparation for homes that had been destroyed and the demand that some members of the Young Turks government should be put on trial.

The Albanians were divided into two groups, the majority of representatives of the cities – members of the aristocracy – who opposed autonomy, and leaders of the uprising whose aim was autonomy, who were further split as some of them wanted to remain powerfully connected with the Ottoman Empire. These divisions were the main reason for the change in the political goals from territorial autonomy to non-territorial autonomy. The divisions between the leaders of the Albanian uprising were encouraged by the representatives of Serbia who armed some of the leaders of the Albanian uprising. A representation of these divisions is crucial because they had a decisive impact on the changes to the political platform from territorial autonomy to non-territorial autonomy. However, the Albanian rebels didn’t achieve even non-territorial autonomy because, instead of creating organs of power, they dispersed immediately after the Ottoman Empire officially accepted their fourteen points, thus excluding the possibility of starting legal proceedings against the Young Turks’ government.

[Malcolm, Noel. Kosovo – A Short History. London: Pan Macmillan, 2002, pages 245-257; Schmitt, Oliver. Kosova: histori e shkurtër e një treve qendrore ballkanike. Prishtina: Koha, 2012, pages134-142; Schmitt, Oliver. Shqiptarët – një histori midis Lindjes dhe Perëndimit. Tirana: K&B, 2012, pages 168-169; Bartl, Peter. Shqipëria – nga mesjeta deri sot. Prizren: Drita, 1999, pages 123-131; Schwartz, Stephen. Kosovo:
Background to a War. London: Anthem Press, 2000, pages 41-42; Gawrych, George. Gjysmëhëna dhe shqiponja – sundimi otoman, islamizimi dhe shqiptarët 1874-1913. Tirana: Bota Shqiptare, 2007, pages 291-301; Castelan, Georges. Histori e Ballkanit. Tirana: Çabej, 1996, pages 390-396; Freundlich, Leo. Golgota e Shqipërisë. Prishtina: Rrokullia, 2010. Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conflict of the Balkan Wars. Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1914.]