Last Ottoman Sultan Mehmed VI is exiled, 1922 CE

Mehmed VI, the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, leaving the country from the back door of the Dolmabahçe Palace after the abolition of the Ottoman sultanate on 17 November 1922.

Today on the 17th of November in 1922 CE, the 36th and last Ottoman Sultan Mehmed VI Vahideddin was exiled after the Ottoman Sultanate was abolished (on November 01, 1922) by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

Mehmed VI was sent into exile to Malta. After their defeat in World War I, the Ottoman government had collapsed completely. In the aftermath, Mehmed VI considered it unrealistic to oppose the Allied Powers. Therefore, he approved the Treaty of Sèvres (10 August 1920), which further partitioned the empire among Allies.

Mehmed VI arrives in Malta on a British warship, 9 Dec 1922. On the left, 10-year-old Prince Mehmed Ertuğrul Efendi | Photo: Wikimedia

Meanwhile, a young Ottoman officer serving under Mehmed VI, Mustafa Kemal Pasha was working to organize a national resistance in Anatolia against the Allied Powers. As a result, Mustafa Kemal rejected the Treaty of Sèvres and started the Turkish War of Independence against the Allied Powers. 

When Ataturk’s movement proved successful, Mehmed VI and his government tried to come to terms with the movement’s leaders, based in Ankara. But the empire’s last sultan had already lost political legitimacy.

Later, when the Allied Powers invited representatives from both Turkish National Assembly led by Mustafa Kemal and the imperial government under Mehmed VI to a major peace conference in Lausanne, the Turkish Nationalists publicly declared the end of the imperial reign and officially dissolved the sultanate.

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