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Mehmed V
Ottoman Caliph
Amir al-Mu'minin
Kayser-i Rûm
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Photograph by Carl Pietzner, June 1915
35th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (Padishah)
Reign27 April 1909 – 3 July 1918
Sword girding10 May 1909
PredecessorAbdul Hamid II
SuccessorMehmed VI
Grand Viziers
Born(1844-11-02)2 November 1844
Old Çırağan Palace, Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
(present day Istanbul, Turkey)
Died3 July 1918(1918-07-03) (aged 73)
Yıldız Palace, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Tomb of Sultan Mehmed V Reşad, Eyüp, Istanbul
(m. 1872; his d. 1918)
(his d. 1918)
(m. 1876; died 1909)
(his d. 1918)
(his d. 1918)
Mehmed Han bin Abdulmejid[1]
FatherAbdulmejid I
MotherGülcemal Kadın (Biological mother)
Servetseza Kadın (Adoptive mother)
ReligionSunni Islam

Mehmed V Reşâd (Ottoman Turkish: محمد خامس‎, romanized: Meḥmed-i ẖâmis; Turkish: V. Mehmed or Mehmed Reşad; 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.[2] He succeeded his half-brother Abdul Hamid II after the 31 March Incident. 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.[3]

Early life

Mehmed V was born on 2 November 1844 at the Çırağan Palace,[4] Istanbul.[5] His father was Sultan Abdulmejid I, and his mother was Gülcemal Kadın, an ethnic Bosnian.[6] He had two elder sisters, Fatma Sultan,[7] and Refia Sultan.[8] After his mother's death in 1851, he and his sisters were entrusted in the care of his father's senior consort Servetseza Kadın.[9][10] She had asked Abdulmejid to take the motherless children under her wing, and raise as her own, and carried out the duties of a mother who cares for her children with compassion and concern.[11]

In 1856, aged twelve, he was ceremoniously circumcised together with his younger half-brothers, Şehzade Ahmed Kemaleddin, Şehzade Mehmed Burhaneddin, and Şehzade Ahmed Nureddin.[12][13]

Mehmed was educated at the palace. Halid Ziya, the chief clerk of the Chamberlain’s office between 1909–1912, described this as being a poor one. Thanks to his comparatively high intelligence, however, he made good use of the education he had and used it to go further. He studied Arabic and Persian, and spoke the latter very well. He took piano lessons from an Italian pianist and calligraphy lessons from a famous Ottoman calligrapher, Kazasker Mustafa Izzet Efendi (1801–1876), who designed the giant pendant medallions of the Hagia Sophia.[14]


His reign began at the conclusion of the 31 March Incident on 27 April 1909, but he was largely a figurehead with no real political power, as a consequence of the demonstration of the CUP's power in the 31 March Incident and the Young Turk Revolution (which restored the Ottoman Constitution and Parliament). In 1913 the CUP undertook a coup d'état, which brought the dictatorial triumvirate of the Three Pashas to power. At the age of 64, Mehmed V was the oldest person to ascend the Ottoman throne.

In 1911, he embarked on an imperial tour of Selânik (today Thessaloniki) and Manastır (today Bitola), stopping by Florina on the way. He also visited Üsküp (Skopje) and Priştine (Pristina), where he attended Friday prayers at the Tomb of Sultan Murad. 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.[15]

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.[16] He was actually said to look with disfavour on the pro-German policy of Enver Pasha,[17] but could do little to prevent war due to the sultanate's diminished influence since the overthrow of Abdülhamid II in 1909.

This was the last genuine proclamation of jihad in history by a Caliph, as the Caliphate was abolished in 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.[citation needed] He was also made Generalfeldmarschall of Austria-Hungary on 19 May 1918.[citation needed]


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.[18] 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 Istanbul. His grave is in the Eyüp district of modern Istanbul.


Ottoman honours
Foreign honours


Name Birth Death Notes
By Kamures Kadın (married 1872; 5 March 1855 – 30 April 1921)
Şehzade Mehmed Ziyaeddin  26 August 1873[21][22] 30 January 1938[21] married five times, and had issue, two sons and six daughters
By Mihrengiz Kadın (died 12 December 1938)
Şehzade Ömer Hilmi  2 March 1886[23][22] 2 November 1935[23] married four times, and had issue, one son and one daughter
Refia Sultan 1887[24] or 1888[25] 1888[25] died in infancy
By Dürrüaden Kadın (married 1876; 16 May 1860 – 17 October 1909)
Şehzade Mahmud Necmeddin 23 June 1878[26][27] 27 June 1913[26] unmarried, and without issue
By Nazperver Kadın (c. 1870 – c. 1930)
no issue
By Dilfirib Kadın (c. 1890 – c. 1952)
no issue

See also


  1. ^ "Asian, Ceramics & Works of Art: Antiquities, Islamic & Pre-Columbian Art". C.G. Sloan & Company. 2001.
  2. ^ Abdulmecid, Coskun Cakir, Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, ed. Gábor Ágoston, Bruce Alan Masters, (Infobase Publishing, 2009), 9.
  3. ^ "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).
  4. ^ Uluçay 2011, p. 209.
  5. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.7, edited Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 3; "Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish Empire..".
  6. ^ Açba, Harun (2007). Kadın efendiler: 1839-1924. Profil. pp. 36–37. ISBN 978-9-759-96109-1.
  7. ^ Uluçay 2011, p. 218.
  8. ^ Uluçay 2011, p. 220.
  9. ^ Uluçay 2011, p. 203.
  10. ^ Brookes 2020, p. xvi, 245.
  11. ^ Brookes 2020, p. 70-71.
  12. ^ Mehmet Arslan (2008). Osmanlı saray düğünleri ve şenlikleri: Manzum sûrnâmeler. Sarayburnu Kitaplığı. p. 329. ISBN 978-9944-905-63-3.
  13. ^ Dünden bugüne İstanbul ansiklopedisi. Kültür Bakanlığı. 1993. p. 72. ISBN 978-975-7306-07-8.
  14. ^ Springer 2018, p. 125.
  15. ^ The Ottoman Empire: Three Wars in Three Years, 1911-13. New Zealand History. Retrieved 28 January 2020
  16. ^ Lawrence Sondhaus, World War One: The Global Revolution, (Cambridge University Press, 2011), 91.
  17. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Mahommed V." . Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company.
  18. ^ Mehmed V, Selcuk Aksin Somel, Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, 371.
  19. ^ "Ritter-Orden", Hof- und Staatshandbuch der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie, 1918, p. 56, retrieved 14 January 2021
  20. ^ Acović, Dragomir (2012). Slava i čast: Odlikovanja među Srbima, Srbi među odlikovanjima. Belgrade: Službeni Glasnik. p. 369.
  21. ^ a b Brookes 2010, p. 291.
  22. ^ a b Uluçay 2011, p. 260.
  23. ^ a b Brookes 2010, p. 287.
  24. ^ Scott-Keltie, J. (27 December 2016). The Statesman's Year-Book. Springer. p. 1265. ISBN 978-0-230-27032-9.
  25. ^ a b Brookes 2010, p. 284.
  26. ^ a b Brookes 2010, p. 286.
  27. ^ Uluçay 2011, p. 261.


Media related to Mehmed V at Wikimedia Commons

Mehmed V House of OsmanBorn: 2 November 1844 Died: 3 July 1918 Regnal titles Preceded byAbdul Hamid II Sultan of the Ottoman Empire 27 Apr 1909 – 3 Jul 1918 Succeeded byMehmed VI Sunni Islam titles Preceded byAbdul Hamid II Caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate 27 Apr 1909 – 3 Jul 1918 Succeeded byMehmed VI