Hakkâri Province

Coordinates: 37°27′58″N 44°03′52″E / 37.46611°N 44.06444°E / 37.46611; 44.06444
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Hakkâri Province
The river Great Zab in Hakkâri Province
The river Great Zab in Hakkâri Province
Location of the province within Turkey
Location of the province within Turkey
 • GovernorAli Çelik
7,095 km2 (2,739 sq mi)
 • Density41/km2 (100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+3 (TRT)
Area code0438

Hakkâri Province (pronounced [hacːaːɾi], Turkish: Hakkâri ili; Kurdish: Parêzgeha Colemêrg[2]), is a province in the southeast of Turkey.[3] The administrative centre is the city of Hakkâri. Its area is 7,095 km2,[4] and its population is 287,625 (2023).[1] The current Governor is Ali Çelik.[5] The province encompasses 8 municipalities, 140 villages and 313 hamlets.[3]

The province is a stronghold for Kurdish nationalism and a hotspot in the Kurdish–Turkish conflict.[6][7]


Districts of Hakkâri province

Hakkâri province is divided into five districts (capital district in bold):


Hakkari Province is located in Turkish Kurdistan[8] and has an overwhelmingly Kurdish population.[9] The province is tribal and most of the Kurds adhere to the Shafiʽi school with the Naqshbandi order having a strong presence around Şemdinli.[10] The Kurdish tribes in the province include the Doski, Ertuşi, Gerdi, Herki, Jirki and Pinyaniş.[11] The area had a significant Christian Assyrian population from various tribes before the Assyrian genocide in 1915. The Assyrian tribes in the region were Jilu, Dez, Baz, Tkhuma, Tal and Tyari.[12] Relations between Assyrians and Kurds have been described as a 'tense coexistence' due to the ability to coexist despite the recurring disputes over land and life stock, and robbery of each other and of travelers. Assyrian resentment in the region was more directed towards the Ottomans than the Kurds, due to the Ottoman hostility towards the Christian minority, viewing them as a disloyal non-Muslim component.[13]

Hakkari Sanjak, part of Van vilayet, had a population of 5,896 in 1881-1882 of which 81.9% was Muslim and 18.1% Christian.[14]

In the 1945 census, 98.8% of the population was Muslim, while Jews constituted the largest religious minority with 0.1%. Only one Christian was enumerated in 1945, from the Protestant denomination.[15] In the same census, Kurdish and Turkish were the first language for 87.8% and 11.4% of the population.[16] The Jewish population left for Israel shortly after 1948.[17] In the 1950 census, 89.5% of the population spoke Kurdish as first language, while the second largest first language was Turkish at 9%.[18] In the subsequent census of 1955, Kurdish constituted the first language for 88.4% of the population and Turkish for 11.5%. The same census found 100% of the population to be Muslim.[19] Kurdish and Turkish remained the two largest first languages in the 1960 census for 80.7% and 19.2% of the population, respectively.[20] As with the previous census, Muslims constituted 100% of the population.[21] In the last census conducted in Turkey in 1965, Kurdish remained the largest first language with 86.2%, while Turkish remained the second largest first language at 12.3%.[22] 99.1% of the population was Muslim and 0.8% was Christian in 1965.[23]

In 1980, the only language spoken in rural parts was Kurdish while both Kurdish and Turkish were spoken in urban areas, due to the presence of military and civil officials from other parts of Turkey.[24]


In the 14th century, Timur devastated the urban centers of Mesopotamia. His conquest of Baghdad and especially the destruction of Tikrit affected the Syrian Orthodox Church, which sheltered near Nineveh at Mar Mattai Monastery. Following the destruction of Christians in the region, the Ismailis and Sunni and Shi'a Muslims was attacked indiscriminately by Timur during the second part of the 14th century. The few survivors sought refuge among the Assyrians of Hakkari and the surrounding region. This region also produced many bishops and patriarchs as hereditary succession was used to prevent a full ecclesiastical collapse of the church. By the 16th century, the Assyrians disappeared from many cities where they previously thrived, such as in Tabriz and Nisibis. The head of the Church of the East moved from Baghdad to Maragheh by 1553.[25]

Ottoman control[edit]

Although the region was nominally under Ottoman control since the 16th century, it was administered as Emirate of Hakkâri by its Kurdish inhabitants.[26][27] Kurds also settled Armenian farmers in the region.[28] The situation changed after the Badr Khan rule and the Tanzimat reforms as the Ottomans were now able to extend their full control unopposed.[29] The region was part of Van Vilayet during the Ottoman era as Hakkari sanjak with Başkale serving as capital, except from 1880 to 1888 where it was elevated to vilayet status.[13] As of 1920, Hakkari was producing lead. The lead, which came from a government owned mine, was used to make bullets.[30]

Massacres of Badr Khan[edit]

In the 19th century, several competing Kurdish centers began emerging in the region. Mir Muhammed, the Kurdish Emir of the Soran Emirate, situated around Rawandiz was able to depose his rivals and control a region stretching from Mardin to Persian Azerbaijan.[31] He was however defeated in battle when he tried to subdue the Assyrians of Hakkari in 1838. The Ottomans, seeking to consolidate their control of the region, engaged him in a costly war which eventually led to the dissolution of his Emirate.[32] After the fall of his main rival, Bedir Khan Beg of Bohtan sought to extend his dominion by annexing the Assyrian regions in Hakkari.[33] He took advantage of a rift between the patriarch Shimun XVII Abraham and Nur Allah, the Emir of Hakkari. Bedir Khan allied with Nur Allah and attacked the Assyrians of Hakkari in the summer of 1843, massacring them and taking those who survived as slaves. Another massacre was inflicted in 1846 on the Tyari tribe, also residing in Hakkari. The western powers, alarmed by the massacres pressured the Ottomans to intervene and the Emir of Bohtan was ultimately defeated and exiled to Crete in 1847.[34]

Genocide and exodus[edit]

On the eve of the First World War, patriarch Shimun XIX Benyamin was promised preferential treatment in anticipation of the war.[35] Shortly after the war began, however, Assyrian and Armenian settlements to the north of Hakkari were attacked and sacked by Kurdish irregulars allied with the Ottoman Army in the Assyrian genocide.[36][37] Others were forced into labour battalions and later executed.[38]

The turning point was when the patriarch's brother was taken prisoner as he was studying in Constantinople. The Ottomans demanded Assyrian neutrality and executed him as a warning.[39][40] In return, the patriarch declared war on the Ottomans on 10 April 1915.[39]

The Assyrians were immediately attacked by Kurdish irregulars backed by the Ottomans, driving most of the Assyrians of Hakkari to the mountain tops, as those who stayed in their villages were killed.[39] Shimun Benjamin was able to move unnoticed to Urmia, which at the time was under Russian control, and tried to persuade them to send a relief force to the besieged Assyrians.[39] When the Russians replied that the request was unreasonable, he returned to Hakkari and led the surviving 50,000 Assyrians through the mountains to safety in Urmia.[39] Thousands perished from cold and hunger during this march.[39] In 1924, Turkey expelled the last Christian inhabitants in the region.[41]

In Turkey[edit]

In order to Turkify the local population,[42] in June 1927 the Law 1164 was passed[43] which allowed the creation of Inspectorates-General (Umumi Müffetişlik, UM).[44] The province therefore was included in the so-called First Inspectorate General, which span over the provinces of Hakkâri, Siirt, Van, Mardin, Bitlis, Sanlıurfa, Elaziğ, and Diyarbakır.[45] The first UM was created on the 1 January 1928 and centered in Diyarbakır.[46] The UM was governed by an Inspector General, who governed with a wide-ranging authority over civilian, juridical and military matters.[44] The office of the Inspector General was dissolved in 1952 during the government of the Democrat Party.[47] Hakkari though was still banned for foreign citizens until 1965.[45]

From July 1987 to August 2002 Hakkari was within the OHAL state of emergency region.[48] It was Governed by a so-called Supergovernor, who was invested with additional powers than a normal Governor. He was given authority over all the other provincial Governors in the OHAL area and also the power to permanently relocate and resettle the village's population.[49]

Historical population[edit]

Population history of the province from 1927 to 2023:[50][51][52]


See also[edit]


  • Aboona, H (2008), Assyrians, Kurds, and Ottomans: intercommunal relations on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire, Cambria Press, ISBN 978-1-60497-583-3
  • Alexander, V (1994) [1994], The First Civilization, Victor Alexander, ISBN 978-1-4486-7089-5
  • Dündar, Fuat (2000), Türkiye nüfus sayımlarında azınlıklar (in Turkish), ISBN 9789758086771
  • Gaunt, D; Beṯ-Şawoce, J (2006), Massacres, resistance, protectors: Muslim-Christian relations in Eastern Anatolia during World War I, Gorgias Press, ISBN 978-1-59333-301-0
  • McDowall, D (2000), A modern history of the Kurds, I.B. Tauris, ISBN 978-1-85043-416-0.
  • Nisan, M (2002) [1991], Minorities in the Middle East: a history of struggle and self-expression, McFarland, ISBN 978-0-7864-1375-1.
  • Stafford, R (2006) [1935], The Tragedy of the Assyrians, Gorgias Press, ISBN 978-1-59333-413-0


  1. ^ a b "Address-based population registration system (ADNKS) results dated 31 December 2022, Favorite Reports" (XLS). TÜİK. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  2. ^ "Li Colemêrgê boriyên gaza xwezayî hatin danîn" (in Kurdish). Rûdaw. 23 July 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Türkiye Mülki İdare Bölümleri Envanteri". T.C. İçişleri Bakanlığı (in Turkish). Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  4. ^ "İl ve İlçe Yüz ölçümleri". General Directorate of Mapping. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  5. ^ "Yöneticilerimiz". Hakkari Valiliği. Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  6. ^ Birch, Nicholas (21 May 2010). "PKK's Nihilism Fostering Divisions among Turkey's Kurds". Eurasia.
  7. ^ Kissane, Bill (2014). After Civil War: Division, Reconstruction, and Reconciliation in Contemporary Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 170. ISBN 9780812290301.
  8. ^ Kreyenbroek, Philip G.; Allison, Christine (1966). Kurdish Culture and Identity. Zed Books. p. 143. ISBN 9781856493291.
  9. ^ Watts, Nicole F. (2010). Activists in Office: Kurdish Politics and Protest in Turkey (Studies in Modernity and National Identity). University of Washington Press. ISBN 9780295990507.
  10. ^ "124 - Proche-Orient, géopolitique de la crise (premier trimestre 2007) Le Kurdistan irakien". Hérodote (in French). 2007.
  11. ^ aşiretler Raporu (in Turkish) (3 ed.). Kaynak Yayınları. 2014. pp. 153–159. ISBN 978-975-343-220-7.
  12. ^ Becker, Adam H. (2015). Revival and Awakening: American Evangelical Missionaries in Iran and the Origins of Assyrian Nationalism. University of Chicago Press. p. 47. ISBN 9780226145457.
  13. ^ a b Coakley, James F. "Hakkari". Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  14. ^ Karpat, Kemal (1985). Ottoman population 1830-1914. The University of Wisconsin Press. p. 146. ISBN 9780299091606.
  15. ^ Dündar (2000), p. 176.
  16. ^ Dündar (2000), p. 177.
  17. ^ Özgen, Özden (2016). "Hakkari bölgesinde yaşamış dini topluluklar". İnsan Kaynakları ve Eğitim Müdürü (in Turkish): 48.
  18. ^ Dündar (2000), p. 186.
  19. ^ Dündar (2000), pp. 197–198.
  20. ^ Dündar (2000), p. 207.
  21. ^ Dündar (2000), p. 211.
  22. ^ Dündar (2000), p. 218.
  23. ^ Dündar (2000), p. 222.
  24. ^ Peter Alfred, Andrews; Benninghaus, Rüdiger, eds. (1989). Ethnic Groups in the Republic of Turkey. p. 212.
  25. ^ Alexander 1994, p. 36
  26. ^ Aboona 2008, p. 2.
  27. ^ Sinclair, T. A. (1989-12-31). Eastern Turkey: An Architectural & Archaeological Survey, Volume I. Pindar Press. p. 340. ISBN 978-0-907132-32-5.
  28. ^ Eppel, Michael (2016). A People Without a State: The Kurds from the Rise of Islam to the Dawn of Nationalism. University of Texas Press. p. 58. ISBN 9781477311073.
  29. ^ Aboona 2008, p. 3
  30. ^ Prothero, W. G. (1920). Armenia and Kurdistan. London: H.M. Stationery Office. p. 71.
  31. ^ Aboona 2008, p. 173
  32. ^ Aboona 2008, p. 174
  33. ^ Aboona 2008, p. 179
  34. ^ McDowall 2000, p. 47
  35. ^ Stafford 2006, p. 23
  36. ^ Stafford 2006, p. 24
  37. ^ Gaunt & Beṯ-Şawoce 2006, p. 134
  38. ^ Gaunt & Beṯ-Şawoce 2006, p. 136
  39. ^ a b c d e f Stafford 2006, p. 25
  40. ^ Yusuf, Malik. "The Assyrian Tragedy". www.aina.org. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
  41. ^ Nisan 2002, p. 188
  42. ^ Üngör, Umut. "Young Turk social engineering : mass violence and the nation state in eastern Turkey, 1913- 1950" (PDF). University of Amsterdam. pp. 244–247. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  43. ^ Aydogan, Erdal. "Üçüncü Umumi Müfettişliği'nin Kurulması ve III. Umumî Müfettiş Tahsin Uzer'in Bazı Önemli Faaliyetleri". Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  44. ^ a b Bayir, Derya (2016-04-22). Minorities and Nationalism in Turkish Law. Routledge. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-317-09579-8.
  45. ^ a b Jongerden, Joost (2007-01-01). The Settlement Issue in Turkey and the Kurds: An Analysis of Spatical Policies, Modernity and War. BRILL. p. 53. ISBN 978-90-04-15557-2.
  46. ^ Umut, Üngör. "Young Turk social engineering : mass violence and the nation state in eastern Turkey, 1913- 1950" (PDF). University of Amsterdam. p. 258. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  47. ^ Bozarslan, Hamit (2008-04-17). Fleet, Kate; Faroqhi, Suraiya; Kasaba, Reşat; Kunt, I. Metin (eds.). The Cambridge History of Turkey. Cambridge University Press. p. 343. ISBN 978-0-521-62096-3.
  48. ^ "Case of Dogan and others v. Turkey" (PDF). p. 21. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  49. ^ Jongerden, Joost (2007). The Settlement Issue in Turkey and the Kurds. Brill. pp. 141–142. ISBN 978-90-47-42011-8.
  50. ^ Genel nüfus sayımı 2000: Hakkari (in Turkish). T.C. Başbakanlık Devlet İstatistik Enstitüsü. 2002. p. 45.
  51. ^ "Genel Nüfus Sayımları" (in Turkish). Retrieved 1 March 2023.
  52. ^ "Address Based Population Registration System Results". Türkiye İstatistik Kurumu (in Turkish). Retrieved 15 February 2023.

Further reading[edit]

37°27′58″N 44°03′52″E / 37.46611°N 44.06444°E / 37.46611; 44.06444