|• Mayor||Ruken Yetişkin (BDP)|
|• Kaymakam||Üzeyir Aziz Özeren|
|• District||2,371.85 km2 (915.78 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,950 m (6,400 ft)|
|• District density||49/km2 (130/sq mi)|
Yüksekova (Kurdish: Gewer; Syriac: Gawar), formerly known as Gawar, is a district of Hakkari Province of Turkey, situated on the border with Iran. Its location on the trade route between north western Iran and eastern Turkey made it an important juncture for travelers and the location of several ethnic groups that were active in regional trade. It is an historically Assyrian region.
In the early 20th century, the villages in Gawar predominantly consisted of Assyrians with a few numbers of Jews among them. Gawar is from the Turkish "Gavur" meaning "infidel," referring to what were the primarily Christian inhabitants of the region, the Assyrians. In the 1st century AD, its name was Beth-Bagash (so was the Nochiya district). In the 1920s its name was changed to Yuksekova.
In the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, Gawar had around 30 villages (the number is variable because Kurds and Turks used to destroy the villages and Assyrians re-built them). Prior to the Assyrian Genocide during World War I, the population of Gawar was 15,000. Inhabitants lived off agriculture that mainly consisted of wheat and barley, cotton, tea. Gawar had around 1497 families in the 1880s.
Up until World War I, Gawar was the seat of a bishop of the Church of the East. The district of Gawar served as the main travel stop for Assyrians traveling between the Hakkari tribal areas and the Urmia plains. At various times in the 19th century the residents of many Assyrian villagers from the district were forced to convert to Islam or were killed.
Only about a hundred families were in Gawar after the Kurdish massacre of Bedr Khan Beg. Justin Perkins (1805-1869) described the situation of Gawar and other Assyrian districts as follows: “The koords treat the Nestorians, who are subjects to their spoliation, as they do their bees, - leave them quiet till the hive is worth taking up and then rob it”. The Gawar, Albeq and Salamas villages suffered more than other districts because its inhabitants were subjects of the Ottoman-Islamic occupation, unlike their brethren of the highlands (the independent tribes of Tyari, Jilu, Baz, Diz, Tkhuma).
The heredity of the bishop family stopped during WW1, when all the family members were beheaded by the Kurds in Gegoran village in 1914. In October 1914, Gawar, Albaq and Salamas were the first districts targeted under the motto of "Jihad". Thousands were slaughtered and hundreds of villages were completely burned and destroyed. Today the descendants of the Gawar inhabitants are distributed around the world just like other Assyrians, and the district is fully inhabited by Kurds.
The climate in Yüksekova is a hot-summer subtype (Köppen: Dsa) of the humid continental climate. Summers are virtually dry with the most rainfall occurring in late winter to early spring (February to April).
|Climate data for Yüksekova|
|Average high °C (°F)||−6.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−9.0
|Average low °C (°F)||−11.5
|Precipitation mm (inches)||71
Notable Gawar Assyrians
- Assyrian Tribes
- List of Assyrian settlements
- Tyari, an Assyrian tribe also in Hakkari
- Jilu, a tribe in proximity to Gawar
- "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
- "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
- G. Maspero : :"Hitory Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria",V8, special study by Project Gutenberg
- Assyrians Of The Van District During The Rule Of Ottoman Turks, M.Y.A . Lilian, 1914
- Perkins, P: 316.
- E.L.Cutts : “Christians under the crescent in Asia”, London, P: 355
- Rev. Justin Perkins : “A residence of eight years in Persia among the Nestorian Christians”, New York, 1843 – P: 304.
- "Climate:Yüksekova". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
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