SULTAN V. MEHMED REŞAD
Father : Sultan Abdülmecid
Mother : Gülcemal Sultan
Date of Birth : October 2, 1844
Accession to the Throne : April 27, 1909
Death : July 3, 1918
throne as the thirtyfifth Sovereign. He was raised up as a well educated child
at the palace. He learned Persian well and read history books and studied
Turkish history. He had gone through the reign of four sovereigns until the time
of his enthronement and gained significant experience. He is the oldest Ottoman
prince in our history, being enthroned at the age of 65.
When he took over the throne, the state was ruled by a constitutional
government, the Sultan delegated his authorities to an elected Parliament.
Sultan Reşad lived through the declaration of the I. and II. Constitutional
governments in the reign of his brother Abdülhamid II. The country on the other
hand, was going through the most difficult period in its history. Although the
Union and Development Party held the majority in the Parliament it revealed
insufficient performance. The economic situation could not be straightened out
and loaning continued.
Anatolia during that period had become a geographical area where the conflict
of European States and Russia’s interests were staged. Italy took the first
initiative and mobilized its forces to annex Tripoli, and shortly afterwards
captured the Dodekanez. On the other hand, Karadağ and Serbia which had become
independent states at the end of the century, started the Balkan War under a
consensus with Bulgaria and proceeded up to Edirne-Çatalca. The state was able
to save its status with the II. Balkan War and to oust the occupiers out of the
Edirne boundaries. The First World War started before the completion of peace
negotiations and the Ottoman State joined the War beside Germany.
Probably the most significant turning point in our history is the period
between November 1914 when we joined the war and the signing of Mondros
Armistice on October 30, 1918. The resolution to enter the war had been given by
the leaders of the Union and Development Party, namely Cemal, Talat and Enver
Pashas. During the war the name İstanbul Government was designated to the state.
Sultan Mehmed Reşad was of medium height, with fair complexion, blue eyes,
and a grey beard. He was rather plump. He was educated and drew attention with
his courtesy and good manners. He had an extremely sensitive nature and behaved
courteously to his servants. He had a very strong memory.