“Sultan Vahdettin” Sultan Mehmed VI the Last Ottoman Sultan

Ottoman Sultan Mehmed VI “Sultan Vahdettin” is the last Ottoman administrator to exercise both caliphate and sultanate simultaneously.

Sultan Vahdettin was the last de facto Ottoman sultan in the country, and his successor, Abdülmecid Efendi, served only as the Islamic Caliph for a while after the sultanate was abolished.

Sultan Vahdettin

Lineage and Family of Sultan Vahdettin

Sultan VI. Mehmed’s lineage within the Ottoman dynasty is as follows:

Son of Ertuğrul , son of Osman , son of Orhan Gazi, son of Murad I, son of Bayezit I. Murad’s son , Mehmed Çelebi’s son, Fatih Sultan Mehmed’s son, II. Son of Bayezit I. Son of Sultan Suleiman II, son of Selim I. Son of Selim III. Murad’s son III. Son of Mehmed I. Son of Ahmed IV. Son of Ibrahim . Mehmed son III. Abdulhamid II , son of Ahmed . Vahideddin , son of Abdülmecid, son of Mahmud

Sultan Vahdettin was married to the following women throughout his life:

  • Nazikeda Hanım (He has three daughters from this lady.)
  • Ms. Inshirah
  • Müveddet Hanım (She is the mother of Prince Ertuğrul .)
  • Ms. Nevvare
  • Ms. Nevzad

Sultan Vahdettin’s Life Before Ascending the Throne

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Sultan Vahdettin was born in Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul on January 14, 1861, and his father died at an early age when he was only 5 months old.

Since Sultan Vahdettin’s mother passed away when he was only four years old, he was raised by his stepmother Şayeste Hanım.

Education of Sultan Vahdettin

While he was a student, Mehmed secretly attended madrasah classes with his friends, and also educated himself by working with private teachers. The madrasah education he received gave him the competence to examine the religious issues brought before him after coming to power.

VI. Mehmet took courses in Islamic Sharia, interpretation of the Quran and hadiths, as well as Arabic and Persian.

The young prince came to the lodge as a disciple of the Naqshbandi sect and was interested in Sufism in his youth.

Prince VI. Since Mehmet was interested in various subjects, including art, he took various private lessons and read a lot. He was interested in literature, calligraphy and music. He is a good calligrapher. He has many compositions.

Years of Sultan Vahdettin’s Reign

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VI. Mehmed came to power after the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in the First World War, following the death of his brother Mehmet Reşad on July 3, 1918.

The primary agenda of the sultan was to exit the war with the least possible losses after the heavy damage suffered by the state.

After Vahdettin came to power, the Armistice of Mudros was signed. According to this armistice, Allied forces were allowed to enter Istanbul and control important castles, the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus.

Since the Committee of Union and Progress, which controlled the state at that time, suffered heavy losses on most fronts, the Ottoman Empire lost many lands when Vahdettin came to power.

As a result of the Armistice of Mudros, the Ottoman army was demobilized, and all ports, railways and other strategic points were taken over by the Allied Powers. In the Caucasus, the Ottomans were forced to retreat to their pre-war borders as a result of the war between the Ottoman and Russian Empires.

After the surrender of the Ottoman Empire and the signing of the Armistice of Mudros, the Sultan ordered Mustafa Kemal Pasha to go to Eastern Anatolia to protect non-Muslims, as well as to implement the conditions of the Allied powers.

Although some historical sources disagree on this issue, some sources portray the Sultan as betraying the nation by suppressing the national struggle movements.

Other sources confirm that, as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk later said in a press statement, the Sultan called him before sending him away and said to him:

You have served the state many times so far, Pasha, you can save the country!

Thus, Mustafa Kemal Pasha influenced the beginning of the War of Independence and founded the Turkish National Assembly, which refused to recognize the Sultan and the armistice with the Allies.

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Against the “Kuva-yi Milliye” army, “Kuvâ-i İnzibâtiyye” was established by the Istanbul government, by the order of the Sultan, under the leadership of Süleyman Şefik Pasha.

According to some, the sultan secretly supported the Kuva-yi Milliye and established the Kuva-i İnzibâtiyye to stall the allies.

A new government was established in Ankara on April 23, 1920, under the chairmanship of Mustafa Kemal, and this government announced that they did not recognize Vahdettin and Süleyman Şefik Pasha and prepared a provisional constitution.

In 1920, the Ottoman government ratified the Treaty of Sevres, which unfairly divided Anatolia and the Ottoman Empire and was rejected by the Ankara government.

Treaty of Sèvres

Sultan Vahdettin’s Exile

The Turkish National Assembly abolished the sultanate on November 1, 1922.

On 17 November 1922, the Sultan sailed to Malta on a British warship and then proceeded to the Italian Riviera.

On 19 November 1922, two days after the sultan’s exile, his cousin Abdülmecid Efendi was elected caliph and head of the Ottoman family. Since the sultanate was abolished, Abdülmecid Efendi was elected only as caliph, and the last caliph-sultan of the Ottoman Empire, VI. It should not be forgotten that Mehmet is Vahdettin.

Sultan VI. Mehmed protested his cousin’s election as caliph and declared that he did not renounce the Islamic caliphate and his right to rule.

Death of the Last Ottoman Sultan

Sultan Vahdettin died on May 16, 1926 in Sanremo, Italy. His daughter Sabiha Sultan had difficulty finding money for the burial.

Abdullah Habib
Abdullah Habib

Merhaba! I'm Abdullah Habib. In this article, I share the essence of my 7-year journey in Turkey - as an expat and foreign student. With a heart full of stories and a mind rich with insights from my experiences, I've written this piece just for you. So, without further ado, sit back, relax, and enjoy the read!

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