Sultan V. Mehmed Reşad Han


Father : Sultan Abdülmecid
Mother : Gülcemal Sultan
Date of Birth : October 2, 1844
Accession to the Throne : April 27, 1909
Death : July 3, 1918

Ottoman 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.