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Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Portrait photograph of Mehmed V by Carl Pietzner (June 1915)
|27th Ottoman Caliph|
35th Ottoman Sultan (Emperor)
|Reign||27 April 1909 – 3 July 1918|
|Sword girding||10 May 1909|
|Predecessor||Abdul Hamid II|
|Born||2 November 1844|
Old Çırağan Palace, Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
(present day Istanbul, Turkey)
|Died||3 July 1918 (aged 73)|
Yıldız Palace, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Tomb of Sultan Mehmed V Reşad, Eyüp, Istanbul
|Issue||Şehzade Mehmed Ziyaeddin|
Şehzade Mahmud Necmeddin
Şehzade Ömer Hilmi
|Mother||Gülcemal Kadın (Biological mother)|
Servetseza Kadın (Adoptive mother)
Mehmed V Reşâd (Ottoman Turkish: محمد خامس, romanized: Meḥmed-i ẖâmis, Turkish: Beşinci Mehmet Reşat or Reşat Mehmet) (2 November 1844 – 3 July 1918) reigned as the 35th and penultimate Ottoman Sultan (r. 1909–1918). He was the son of Sultan Abdulmejid I.. He succeeded his brother Abdul Hamid II after the Young Turk revolution. He was succeeded by his half-brother Mehmed VI. His nine-year reign was marked by the cession of the Empire's North African territories and the Dodecanese Islands, including Rhodes, in the Italo-Turkish War, the traumatic loss of almost all of the Empire's European territories west of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the First Balkan War, and the entry of the Ottoman Empire into World War I in 1914, which would ultimately lead to the Empire's end.
He was born at the Topkapı Palace, Istanbul. Like many other potential heirs to the throne, he was confined for 30 years in the Harems of the palace. For nine of those years he was in solitary confinement. During this time he studied poetry of the old Persian style and was an acclaimed poet. On his ninth birthday he was ceremoniously circumcised in the special Circumcision Room (Sünnet Odasi) of Topkapı Palace.
His reign began on 27 April 1909, but he was largely a figurehead with no real political power, as a consequence of the Young Turk Revolution in 1908 (which restored the Ottoman Constitution and Parliament) and especially the 1913 Ottoman coup d'état, which brought the dictatorial triumvirate of the Three Pashas to power.
In 1911 he embarked on an imperial tour of Selânik (today Thessaloniki) and Manastır (today Bitola), stopping by Florina on the way. The visit was recorded on film and photographs by the Manaki brothers. It would soon prove to be the last visit of an Ottoman sultan to the Rumelian provinces before the catastrophe of the Balkan Wars the following year.
Under his rule, the Ottoman Empire lost all its remaining territory in North Africa (Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan) to Italy in the Italo-Turkish War and nearly all its European territories (except for a small strip of land west of Constantinople) in the First Balkan War. The Ottomans made some small gains in the following war, recapturing the peninsula comprising East Thrace up to Edirne, but this was only partial consolation for the Turks: the bulk of Ottoman territories that they had fought to keep had been lost forever.
The sudden loss of these enormous swathes of land, which had been Ottoman territory for centuries and were ceded to its opponents within a span of only two years, was deeply shocking to the Ottoman Turks and resulted in massive popular backlash against the government, culminating in the 1913 Ottoman coup d'etat.
Despite his preference that the country stayed out of further conflict, Mehmed V's most significant political act was to formally declare jihad against the Entente Powers (Allies of World War I) on 14 November 1914, following the Ottoman government's decision to join the First World War on the side of the Central Powers. He was actually said to look with disfavour on the pro-German policy of Enver Pasha, but could do little to prevent war due to the sultanate's diminished influence since the overthrow of Abdülhamit II in 1909.
This was the last genuine proclamation of jihad in history by a Caliph, as the Caliphate lasted until 1924. As a direct result of the declaration of war, the British annexed Cyprus and the Khedivate of Egypt outright; these provinces had at least been under nominal Turkish rule. The proclamation had no noticeable effect on the war, despite the fact that many Muslims lived in Ottoman territories. Some Arabs eventually joined the British forces against the Ottomans with the Arab Revolt in 1916.
Mehmed V hosted Kaiser Wilhelm II, his World War I ally, in Constantinople on 15 October 1917. He was made Generalfeldmarschall of the Kingdom of Prussia on 27 January 1916, and of the German Empire on 1 February 1916.
Sultan Mehmed V together with his entourage. Manastır (today Bitola), 1911. Photo from the Manaki Brothers (Damaged plate).
Minister of War Enver Pasha during the reign of Mehmed V.
Mehmed V died at Yıldız Palace on 3 July 1918 at the age of 73, only four months before the end of World War I. Thus, he did not live to see the downfall of the Ottoman Empire. He spent most of his life at the Dolmabahçe Palace and Yıldız Palace in Constantinople. His grave is in the Eyüp district of modern Istanbul.
Decorations and awards
- Ottoman orders
Mehmed V was Grand Master of the following Ottoman Orders:
- Grand Master of the Order of the Crescent
- Grand Master of the Order of Glory
- Grand Master of the Order of the Medjidie
- Grand Master of the Order of Osmanieh
- Foreign orders and decorations
- Grand Cross of the Grand Cross of St. Stephen, 1914 (Austria-Hungary)
- Knight of the Military Order of Max Joseph (Bavaria)
- Order of Karađorđe's Star (Yugoslavia)
Sultan Mehmed V Reşad had five consorts:
- Kamures Kadın (m. 1872 Ganja, c. 1857 – Kuruçesme Palace, Constantinople, 30 April 1921, buried in Mehmed Reşad Mausoleum);
- Mihrengiz Kadın (m. 1876; Sochi, c. 1861 – Alexandria, Egypt, 12 December 1938, buried in Ömer Tosun Pasha Mausoleum);
- Dürrüaden Kadın (m. 1877; Sochi, c. 1861 – Validebağı Palace, Constantinople, 17 October 1909, buried in Gülüstü Hanım Mausoleum);
- Nazperver Kadın (m. 1888; Constantinople, c. 1873 – Kadınefendi Palace, Vaniköy, Constantinople (the entirety of which already known in Turkish as Istanbul by then), Republic of Turkey, 9 March 1929, buried in Yahya Efendi cemetery);
- Dilfirib Kadın (m. 1907; c. 1892 – Kadınefendi Palace, Vaniköy, Istanbul, Turkey, 1952).
He had three sons:
- Şehzade Mehmed Ziyaeddin (Ortaköy Palace, Constantinople, 26 August 1873 – Alexandria, Egypt, 30 January 1938, buried in Ömer Tosun Pasha Mausoleum), married five times and had two sons and six daughters – with Kamures Kadın;
- Şehzade Mahmud Necmeddin (Veliahd Palace, Constantinople, 23 June 1878 – Kuruçeşme Palace, Constantinople, 27 June 1913, buried in Mehmed Reşad Mausoleum), unmarried and without issue – with Dürrüaden Kadın;
- Şehzade Ömer Hilmi (Veliahd Palace, Constantinople, 2 March 1888 – Alexandria, Egypt, 2 November 1935, buried in Ömer Tosun Pasha Mausoleum), married three times and had one son and one daughter – with Mihrengiz Kadın;
- Abdulmecid, Coskun Cakir, Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, ed. Gábor Ágoston, Bruce Alan Masters, (Infobase Publishing, 2009), 9.
- "Rusya Fransa ve İngiltere devletleriyle hal-i harb ilanı hakkında irade-i seniyye [Imperial Decree Concerning the Declaration of a State of War with the States of Russia, France, and the United Kingdom], Nov. 11, 1914 (29 Teşrin-i Evvel 1330), Takvim-i Vekayi, Nov. 12, 1914 (30 Teşrin-i Evvel 1330)" (PDF).
- The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.7, edited Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 3; "Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish Empire..".
- The Ottoman Empire: Three Wars in Three Years, 1911-13. New Zealand History. Retrieved 28 January 2020
- Lawrence Sondhaus, World War One: The Global Revolution, (Cambridge University Press, 2011), 91.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York. .
- Mehmed V, Selcuk Aksin Somel, Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, 371.
- "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Acović, Dragomir (2012). Slava i čast: Odlikovanja među Srbima, Srbi među odlikovanjima. Belgrade: Službeni Glasnik. p. 369.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Media related to Mehmed V at Wikimedia Commons
Mehmed VBorn: 2 November 1844 Died: 3 July 1918
Abdul Hamid II
| Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
27 Apr 1909 – 3 Jul 1918
|Sunni Islam titles|
Abdul Hamid II
| Caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate
27 Apr 1909 – 3 Jul 1918