Shaping the Constitutional Sultanate: The Reign of Mehmed Reşad (1909-18)

Eyal Ginio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The article concentrates on the reign of Sultan Mehmed Reşad (1909-18) to discuss the last phase of the Ottoman sultanate. Notwithstanding the significance of the Second Constitutional Period, Mehmed Reşad's reign itself is often mentioned merely as representing the twilight of the Ottoman sultanate, when it became devoid of political power. By using a variety of primary sources, archival, printed and visual documents, this paper focuses on the rule of Mehmed Reşad as representing an attempt to shape a new stage of the Ottoman sultanate. It analyzes the use of Ottoman history at that time and the diffusion of imperial representations to evoke the grandeur of past sultans and its links to the reign of Mehmed Reşad. By promoting his image as a benevolent ruler and the supreme icon of the imagined Ottoman past, Mehmed Reşad endeavored to safeguard his status as a sultan and the future of the sultanate.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)50-70
Number of pages21
JournalTurkish Historical Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.


  • Constitution
  • Ottoman dynasty
  • Sultan Mehmed Reşad
  • Young Turk regime
  • legitimacy


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