Mehmed VI was born at the Dolmabahçe Palace, in Constantinople.
The First World War was a disaster for the Ottoman Empire. British and allied forces had conquered Baghdad, Damascus, and Jerusalem during the war and most of the Ottoman Empire was divided amongst the European allies. At the San Remo conference of April 1920, the French were granted a mandate over Syria and the British were granted one over Palestine and Mesopotamia. On 10 August 1920, Mehmed's representatives signed the Treaty of Sèvres, which recognised the mandates and recognised Hejaz as an independent state.
Turkish nationalists rejected the settlement by the Sultan's four signatories. A new government, the Turkish Grand National Assembly, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) was formed on 23 April 1920, in Ankara (then known as Angora). The new government denounced the rule of Mehmed VI and the command of Süleyman Şefik Pasha, who was in charge of the army commissioned to fight for the empire against the Turkish National Movement (the Kuvâ-i İnzibâtiyye); as a result, a temporary constitution was drafted.
Exile and death
The Grand National Assembly of Turkey abolished the Sultanate on 1 November 1922, and Mehmed VI was expelled from Constantinople. Leaving aboard the British warship Malaya on 17 November, he went into exile in Malta; Mehmed later lived on the Italian Riviera.
On 19 November 1922, Mehmed's first cousin and heir Abdulmejid Efendi was elected Caliph, becoming the new head of the Imperial House of Osman as Abdulmejid II before the Caliphate was abolished by the Turkish Grand National Assembly in 1924.
Mehmed died on 16 May 1926 in Sanremo, Italy, and was buried at the Tekkiye Mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in Damascus.