Sultan Mehmed VI

Mehmed VI, original name Mehmed Vahdettin or Mehmed Vahideddin (January 14, 1861 – May 16, 1926) was the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, reigning from 1918 – 1922. The brother of Mehmed V Resad, he succeeded to the throne due to the suicide of Yusuf Izzetin, the heir to the throne. He was crowned on July 4, 1918, as the thirty-sixth padishah.

World War I had been a disaster for the Ottoman Empire. British forces had occupied Baghdad and Jerusalem during the war and most of the Empire was to be divided among the European allies. At the San Remo conference of April 1920, the French had been given a mandate over Syria and the British had been given one over Palestine and Mesopotamia. On August 10, 1920, Mehmed’s representatives signed the Treaty of Sevres, which recognized the mandates, removed Ottoman control over Anatolia and Izmir, severely reduced the extent of Turkey, and recognised Hejaz as an independent state.

Turkish nationalists were angered by the Sultan’s acceptance of the settlement. A new government, the Turkish Grand National Assembly, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal had been formed in April 1920, centred on Ankara. On April 23, the government of Mehmed was denounced and a temporary constitution was affirmed.

The nationalists’ successes meant that the sultanate was abolished on November 1, 1922, and Vahdettin left Constantinople aboard a British warship on November 17th, bound for exile on the Italian Riviera. He died in San Remo, Italy. On November 19, 1922 his first cousin and Crown Prince was elected Caliph becoming the new Head of the dynasty.

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