Birthday: November 2, 1844
Emperors & Kings
Died At Age: 73
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Mehmed V Resad
Born Country: Turkey
Born in: Topkapi Palace Museum, İstanbul, Turkey
Famous as: Ottoman King
Spouse/Ex-: Dilfirib Kadın (m. 1907), Dürrüaden Kadın (m. 1876), Mihrengiz Kadın (m. 1887)
father: Abdulmejid I
mother: Gülcemal Kadın, Servetseza Kadın
children: Mehmed Necmeddin, Mehmed Ziyaeddin, Şehzade Ömer Hilmi
Died on: July 3, 1918
place of death: Yıldız Palace, İstanbul
Cause of Death: Heart Failure
Mehmed V Resad, better known as just Mehmed V, was the 35th Ottoman Sultan who ruled the Ottoman Empire for nine years between 1909 and 1918. Mehmed V oversaw a tough phase during his reign that was marred by multiple wars and the Ottoman coup d'état carried out by the Committee of Union and Progress. The penultimate sultan of the Ottoman Empire, he also conceded the Dodecanese Islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea to Italy after a heavy defeat in the Turco-Italian War. During his reign, the Ottoman Empire lost most of its European territories, including a major portion of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) after losing the First Balkan War against the Balkan League. Many believe Mehmed V failed as a ruler due to his willingness to rule as a constitutional emperor and giving the Committee of Union and Progress way too much power. He was known for his religious beliefs but not for his administrative prowess like his predecessors. During his reign, the Ottoman Empire declined rapidly, with the last nail on the coffin being Turkey’s defeat in World War I.
Childhood & Early Life
Mehmed V was born on November 2, 1844, in Topkapi Palace, Constantinople, to Sultan Abdulmejid I and his sixth wife, Gulcemal Kadin. Sultan Abdulmejid I had multiple potential heirs to the throne and all of them, including Mehmed V, were kept in confinement. He spent those thirty years of confinement studying and writing Turkish poems.
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Accession & Reign
After the Young Turk Revolution in 1908, the Young Turks movement brought back the Ottoman Constitution of 1876 which enforced an electoral system under the supervision of the Ottoman Parliament. This move marked the ending of the Ottoman Empire, making the emperor a mere figurehead without any significant political power.
In 1909, just a year after the Young Turk Revolution, Mehmed V became the 35th Ottoman Sultan, at the age of 64. He had no political influence during the next nine years of his rule and witnessed the Ottoman Empire fall into pieces with each passing year.
The rapid downfall started when the Turco-Italian War started in September 1911. The war ended with Turkey losing its Tripolitania Vilayet province to Italy. The Ottoman Empire also lost the Dodecanese Islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea, off the coast of Asia Minor.
This was followed by the First Balkan War between the Ottoman Empire and the kingdoms of Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece, known as the Balkan League, in October 1912. The war lasted for almost eight months and the Ottoman Empire lost more than eighty percent of their European territories to the Balkan League.
The remainder of the European territories under the Ottoman Empire was divided into small parts, and an independent Albania was created in November 1912.
Effects of the Ottoman coup d'etat
The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) members Muhammad Talaat Bey and Ismail Enver Bey led a coup on the Ottoman Empire in January 1913.
The group stormed into the Sublime Porte, the Ottoman government buildings, and assassinated Nazım Pasha, the Minister of Navy. The group also forced Grand Vizier Kamil Pasha to resign and as a result, the government was taken over by the Committee of Union and Progress.
The Committee of Union and Progress was then led by the popular ‘Three Pashas’: Ismail Enver Pasha (the Minister of War), Ahmed Djemal Pasha (the Minister of the Navy), and Mehmed Talaat Pasha (the Grand Vizier and Minister of the Interior).
Although the Committee of Union and Progress controlled the majority of political affairs of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed V took a decision on the issue of World War I. He declared the Ottoman Government’s intention of engaging in the war against the Allies.
The declaration of jihad against the Allies in World War I did not make any difference to the Ottoman Empire or to the war. However, many Arabs revolted against the Ottoman Empire and joined the British against the Ottomans. The war didn’t end well for the Ottomans and all the Three Pashas died violent deaths in the war.
Family & Personal Life
Mehmed V had five wives, Kamures Kadin, Mihrengiz Kadin, Durruaden Kadin, Nazperver Kadin, and Dilfirib Kadin. He had many children, including Sehzade Mehmed Ziyaeddin, Sehzade Mahmud Necmeddin, and Sehzade Omer Hilmi.
Mehmed V didn’t see the end of World War I as he died on July 3, 1918. His mortal body was buried in the Eyup district in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul).