Who's Who - Sultan Mehmed V

Sultan Mehmed V Sultan Mehmed V (1844-1918) served as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1909 until his death in 1918.

Born on 2 November 1844 in Constantinople, Mehmed - original name Mehmed Resad - spent much of his life in seclusion until the forced abdication of his brother Sultan Abdul Hamid II at the hands of the Young Turks in 1909.

A kindly gentle man with an interest in Persian literature, Mehmed was effectively little more than a puppet Sultan whose actions were directed by leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress.  Mehmed was little able to govern of his own accord and thus accepted direction from Young Turk leaders including Enver Pasha.

Accordingly the Committee advised the Sultan in 1911 to undertake a goodwill tour of Thrace and Albania, to which he acquiesced.  Over the course of the next two years however the Ottoman Empire lost virtually all of its European territory in the wake of the Balkan Wars; and following war with Italy (1911-12) Tripoli was also lost.

In November 1914, and somewhat against his will, Turkey entered the First World War on the side of the Central Powers.  Once in however the Sultan, as Caliph, called upon all Muslims - with a notable eye upon those living in Allied countries - to rally to the Ottoman cause on 14 November 1914.  The Germans, in particular, were most disappointed at the ineffectual results.

Mehmed died on 3 July 1918 in Constantinople at the age of 73.  His reign had sadly presided over the effective dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire.  Within six months of his death Constantinople itself fell under Allied occupation.

Mehmed was succeeded by his brother Mehmed VI.

Click here to read Mehmed V's call to arms following Turkey's entry into the war at the close of October 1914.

A "creeping barrage" is an artillery bombardment in which a 'curtain' of artillery fire moves toward the enemy ahead of the advancing troops and at the same speed as the troops.

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Who's Who