Sultan Vahdeddin

Osmanlı Padişahı

02 Şubat, 1861
15 Mayıs, 1926
Diğer İsimler
Sultan Mehmed VI, Sultan Vahdettin

Thirty sixth and the last Ottoman Sultan (B. February 2nd, 1861, Istanbul – D. May 15th, 1926, San Remo, Italy). He was son of Sultan Abdülmecid I and Gülistu Kadın Efendi, who had Greek origin and younger brother of Abdülhamit II and Mehmed Reşad.  He lost his father in the year he was born and lost his mother a couple of years later. He was raised by his stepmother Şayeste Kadın. Sultan Abdülhamid II personally interested in his education.  He lived in comfort during the reign of his brother Sultan Abdülhamid II who protected him. He read a lot, had a high cultural level and a smart person. He was especially interested in works regarding “fiqh” (Islamic law). He didn’t have difficulty in writing his thoughts.  Vahdeddin, who was a very kind person, impressed his escort and the foreign representatives with his courtesy during his Vienna trip. He used to speak rarely and used to like listening and pay attention to people.

When Sultan Mehmed Reşad V ascended to the throne, Yusuf İzzeddin, the son of Sultan Abdülaziz , who was older than Vahdeddin , was the heir. Upon his death, he was announced as the heir. In the years when he was the heir, World War I started and he made an official trip to Germany and was accompanied by Mustafa Kemal. After the death of Sultan Mehmed Reşad, he became sultan on 4th of July 1918 and he continued his duty until 1st of November 1922.

In the reign of Mehmed Vahdeddin VI, World War I was ended by the Armistice of Montrose, which was signed at the port of Montrose in Limni island between  the Ottoman delegation led by the Navy Minister Hüseyin Rauf (Orbay) Bey and the delegation of Allied Powers, led by British Admiral Calthorp (30th of October 1918).  However, this armistice that ended the war imposed heavy terms on Ottomans; in fact it predicted the dissolution of Ottoman Empire. With Armistice of Montrose, the Allied Powers, without waiting for signing the peace treaty, started to share the Ottoman cities.  This was because the article seven of the armistice, which stated that “when faced with a situation in which their security may be endangered, the Allies would have the right to occupy any strategic point”, allowed the allies to invade all of the country.

The Treaty of Sevres, which was shaped in San Remo (Italy) Conference on April 24th, 1920, was sent to Ottoman government to be examined on May 11th, 1920. In order to make the acceptance of the agreement easier and to apply the provisions, with the support and encouragement of the Allies, the Greek army started to invade Anatolia and Thrace on June 23rd, 1920.  With the consecutive invasion of Bursa, Balıkesir, Uşak and Nazilli, the allied forces wanted to make sure that The Treaty of Sevres was applied.

Since the parliament of the Ottoman Empire was abolished, the Royal Council assembled under the presidency of Sultan Mehmed Vahdeddin VI on July 22nd, 1920 and decided to approve the treaty considering “a weak existence is preferable than being annihilated”. Since Tevfik Pasha refused to sign the treaty, Reşat Halis Bey, Hâdi Pasha and Rıza Tevfik (Bölükbaşı) Bey, who were assigned by Damat Ferit Pasha, signed the treaty of Sevres on August 10th, 1920. With this agreement, the Ottoman Empire would have been dissolved. The Rumelia border was stated to be almost the same as the border of Istanbul. Western Anatolia (Izmir and surroundings) was given to the Greeks.  The southern border would pass from Mardin, Urfa, Gaziantep, Amanos Mountains and North of Osmaniye, and the lands on the south of this border would have been left to the French. Also in the east an Armenian state would be formed by including Bayazıt, Van, Muş, Bitlis and Erzincan and a Kurdistan state would be formed between Iraq and Syria. Apart from that, on the lands left to Turks, the Italians would form a domain over Antalya and Konya, the French would form a domain over Adana, Sivas and Malatya, and the British would form a domain over the northern IraqIstanbul would be an international city where the Sultan would reside. In Bosporus there would be a commission which had an army, navy, budget and organizations.

According to the treaty of Serves, the lands left to Turks formed with Ankara and Kastamonu and their surroundings and Administration rights would have been strictly limited. Also the military power of the state would have been strictly limited and were not allowed to have tanks, heavy artillery and aircrafts. On the other hand, financial and economic provisions heavily restricted and disregarded the authority of Ottoman government and Parliament. The Ottoman Empire was being a colony of the Allied States.

In those years, upon the abolishing of the parliament of the Ottoman Empire by the British who entered Istanbul, Mustafa Kemal and his comrades landing on Samsun on 19th of May 1919 organized the resistance movement. The congresses of Erzurum and Sivas were held and decided to form a Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara on April 23rd, 1920 (TBMM) along with the resistance brought by the Kuvay-ı Milliye. TBMM, in the meeting on August 19th, 1920 took a decision to consider the members of Royal Council (Şûra-yı Saltanat) as stateless accusing of treason by signing the treaty of Sevres. Besides the TBMM government declared to the world that they weren’t bound with any provisions of this treaty. The Turkish Republic era began with the National Struggle resulting with agreements and winning decisive battles against the invading forces, which led them out of the country, under military command and political leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha.

TBMM demanded the Ottoman Dynasty to be exiled and abolish the sultanate. Upon this condition, Sultan Mehmed Vahdeddin VI made an application to the command of invasion forces and requested asylum in Britain and on November 17th, 1922 he left Istanbul on a British battleship Malaya. He went Malta first and then Hicaz. After staying for a while in Mecca, he went to San Remo in Italy and lived there until his death.

Sultan Mehmed Vahdeddin VI died of cardiac insufficiency in San Remo on May 15th, 1926. His great desire was to see his homeland again. But as he knew it was impossible, he wished to be buried in a Muslim land, chose tomb of Selâhaddin Eyyubi in Damascus. His body couldn’t be buried for a while because of the foreclosure put by payees. Syrian President Ahmed Nami Bey paid his debts and brought his body to Syria. But since there was no room in the tomb of Selâhaddin Eyyubi he was buried in the garden of Sultan Selim Mosque.

There were varied numerous rumors regarding how and why he set out abroad. One of the subjects debated amongst the historians was if he sent Mustafa Kemal Pasha, the founder of Turkish Republic, in order to start National Independence War in Anatolia. There were many books written but this theme, that some historians supported and some refused, hasn’t been fully revealed.



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