Mehemet Ali was born at Constantinople, the son of a government official. Entering the diplomatic service of his country soon after reaching manhood, he became successively secretary of the Embassy in Vienna, minister in London, and foreign minister under Reshid Pasha. In 1852 he was promoted to the post of grand vizier, but after a short time retired into private life.
During the Crimean War he was recalled in order to take the portfolio of foreign affairs for a second time under Reshid Pasha, and in this capacity took part in 1855 in the conference of Vienna. Again becoming in that year grand vizier, an office he filled no less than five times, he represented Turkey at the congress of Paris in 1856.
In 1867 he was appointed regent of Turkey during the sultan's visit to the Paris Exhibition. Aali Pasha was one of the most zealous advocates of the introduction of Western reforms under the sultans Abdul Mejid and Abdul Aziz.
A scholar and a linguist, he was a match for the diplomats of the Christian powers, against whom he successfully defended the interests of his country. He died at Erenkeni in Asia Minor on September 6, 1871.