Mehmed VI.

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Mehmed VI.

Mehmed VI. Vahideddin (محمد وحید الدین / Meḥemmed Vaḥīd ed-Dīn ; * January 4, 1861 in Istanbul ; † May 16, 1926 in Sanremo ) came from the dynasty of the House of Osman and was the last sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1918 to 1922 .

Tughra of Mehmed VI.

Early years

Mehmed Vahideddin was born on January 4, 1861 in the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul . He was the youngest son of Sultan Abdülmecid I and his wife, the Circassian princess Gülüstü Kadın Efendi . After the early death of both parents a few months after his birth, he was encouraged by his older half-brother, Sultan Abdülhamid II, Prince Mehmed, who had ruled since 1876 and who was given little chance of inheriting the throne, was considered intelligent, elegant and politically interested . The prince devoted himself intensively to the study of Islamic literature.

After the death of Crown Prince Yusuf Izzettin Efendi on February 1, 1916, Mehmed became the new heir to the throne (Veliaht) of his older half-brother Sultan Mehmed V ; the Vahdettin Pavilion was dedicated to him. As Crown Prince he visited the allied powers Austria-Hungary and the German Empire during the First World War , but did not gain political influence.

As Sultan (1918 to 1922)

Mehmed VI. when leaving the Dolmabahçe Palace

Sultan Mehmed V died on July 3, 1918 and, as the oldest male member of the Ottoman dynasty, Prince Mehmed automatically succeeded him to the throne. Mehmed VI. was ceremoniously girded with the sword of the founder of the state, Osman I , the following day in the Eyup Sultan Mosque as the 36th Sultan ( Padischah ) and 29th Caliph of the Ottoman Empire . From the beginning of his reign, Mehmed sought to strengthen the monarch's authority, which had been lost under his weak predecessor, and therefore intervened more actively in politics. However, the military situation of the Ottoman Empire was desolate in the summer of 1918: British troops had overrun the fronts in Mesopotamia and Palestine and conquered important cities such as Baghdad and Jerusalem . After Damascus had also fallen, the Sultan was forced to negotiate with the Entente , which resulted in the Moudros armistice on October 30, 1918 . In it the Ottoman Empire undertook to stop the fighting, to evacuate all areas outside Anatolia and to allow the Entente to set up a military administration to control Istanbul and the straits.

In the months that followed, Mehmed hoped, through close cooperation with the Entente, to obtain favorable conditions for a peace treaty and to keep his dynasty in power. The Sultan's government responded to all demands of the victorious powers and practically became their executive body. At the Sanremo Conference in April 1920, his negotiators accepted the territorial reorganization of the Middle East , which reduced the Ottoman Empire to Anatolia. Great Britain received the mandate administration over Mesopotamia and Palestine , France over Lebanon and Syria . The Arabian Peninsula (Hejaz) became independent and Greece was granted territories on the west coast of Anatolia. The regulations put the sultan under enormous domestic political pressure. The nationalists called for the preservation of territorial integrity and national sovereignty, rejected the resolutions and accused the sultan of treason. The latter was therefore forced to dissolve parliament on April 11, 1920, which is why the nationalists in Ankara formed a revolutionary counter-government around the popular General Mustafa Kemal and militarily revolted against the Entente powers ( Turkish Liberation War 1919-1923 , including the Greco-Turkish War 1919 -1922 ). The Treaty of Sèvres , concluded on August 10, 1920, confirmed the provisions of San Remo.

The armed forces of the national government were able to assert themselves militarily and concluded an armistice with the Entente in October 1922. The majority of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey now called for the end of the monarchy and on November 1, 1922, they decided to separate the caliphate and sultanate, which was simultaneously repealed. After 622 years, the rule of the House of Osman ended. According to the agreements with Great Britain , Mehmed was expelled from the country and left on November 17, 1922 on board the British warship HMS Malaya . He was succeeded as caliph by his cousin Abdülmecid II.

Exile and death

In exile, the dethroned Sultan first lived on Malta , later the Italian King Victor Emanuel III presented him . a villa is available in Sanremo on the Italian Riviera . The proclamation of the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923 put an end to all hopes for the restoration of the monarchy.

Mehmed VI. died on May 16, 1926 in San Remo and found his final resting place in the Tekkiye-Suleyman mosque in Damascus . His epitaph begins with the usual invocatio , the invocation of God (هو الحی الباقی / hüve l-ḥayyü l-bāḳī  / 'He [God] is the Living, the Eternal'), whereupon the indication of the status (السلطان ابن السلطان / es-Sulṭān ibnü s-Sulṭān  / 'the Sultan, son of the Sultan') follows. To the attribution (السلطان محمد وحید الدین خان سادس / es-Sulṭān Meḥemmed Vaḥīdeddīn Ḫān-ı sādis  / 'Sultan Meḥemmed Vaḥīdeddīn Ḫān the Sixth') closes the request for the Fatiha (روحنه فاتحة / rūḥuna fātiḥa / 'a fatiha  for his soul'). The inscription ends with the date, whereby the date of birth does not correspond to the birth record (21.  Cemāẕī l-āḫir 1277):

"ولادتی ۲۱ شباط ١٨٦١ (۲۰ رجب ۱۲۷۷) ـ وفاتی ۱٦ مایس ۱۹۲٦ (۱۸ ذی لحجه ١٣٤٥)"

vilādeti 21 Şubaṭ 1861 (20 Receb 1277) - vefātı 16 Mayıs 1926 (18 Ẕī l-ḥicce 1345)

"Born February 21, 1861 (20th  Receb 1277) - Died May 16, 1926 (18.  Ẕī l-ḥicce 1345)"

Marriage and offspring

On June 8, 1885, Mehmed married Princess Emine Nazikeda Kadın Efendi (1866-1941), subsequently his main wife . The marriage resulted in three daughters:

  • Fenire (1888)
  • Fatma Ulviye (1892-1967)
  • Rukiye Sabiha (1894–1971)

He also had four concubines:

  • Seniye Inshira (1887–1930) since July 8, 1905, the childless marriage was divorced
  • Sadiye Mevedett (1893–1951) since April 25, 1911. This marriage resulted in a son: Şehzade Ertuğrul (1912–1944)
  • Nevare (1901–1992) since June 20, 1918, the childless marriage was divorced in 1924
  • Nimit Nevzad (1902–1992) since September 1, 1921


  • Hans-Jürgen Kornrumpf: Mehmed VI. In: Biographical Lexicon on the History of Southeast Europe . Volume 3. Munich 1979, p. 144 f.

Web links

Commons : Mehmed VI.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. According to birth records on Cemāẕī l-āḫir 1277; see Murat Bardakçı: Şahbaba. Osmanoğulları'nın son hükümdarı VI. Mehmed Vahideddin'in hayatı, hatıraları ve özel mektupları. İnkılâp Kitabevi, Istanbul 2006, ISBN 978-975-10-2453-4 , p. 31.
  2. ^ Cevdet Küçük: Mehmed VI. In: Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Ansiklopedisi. Vol. 28, Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı Yayınları, Ankara 2003, pp. 422-430, here: p. 422.
  3. Law to Abolish the Sultanate of November 1, 1922
predecessor Office successor
Mehmed V. Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Mehmed V. Caliph
Abdülmecid II.