Koy Sanjaq

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Koy Sanjaq
Koy Sanjaq is located in Iraqi Kurdistan
Koy Sanjaq
Koy Sanjaq
Location of Koy Sanjaq within the Kurdistan Region
Koy Sanjaq is located in Iraq
Koy Sanjaq
Koy Sanjaq
Location of Koy Sanjaq within Iraq
Coordinates: 36°04′59″N 44°37′47″E / 36.08306°N 44.62972°E / 36.08306; 44.62972
Country Iraq
Region Kurdistan Region
GovernorateErbil Governorate
DistrictKoy Sinjaq District
 • Total21,026

Koy Sanjaq[nb 1], also called Koye (Kurdish: کۆیە, romanized: Koye,[2][3] Arabic: كويسنجق,[4] Hebrew: כוי סנג’ק,[5] Syriac: ܟܘܝܐ)[6] is a town and district in Erbil Governorate in Kurdistan Region, Iraq. In the town, there is a Chaldean Catholic church of Mar Yousif, constructed in 1923.[6]


The name of the town is derived from "köy" ("village" in Turkish) and "sanjaq" ("flag" in Turkish), and thus Koy Sanjaq translates to "village of the flag".[7]


According to local tradition, Koy Sanjaq was founded by the son of an Ottoman sultan who planted his flag and established a garrison at the site of a seasonal bazaar after having defeated a rebellion at Baghdad, and developed into a town as locals moved to the settlement to provide services to the soldiers.[7] A Jewish community at Koy Sanjaq is first mentioned in the late 18th century, by which time it was already well established.[7] The community had its own graveyard,[5] and spoke both Jewish Neo-Aramaic and Sorani Kurdish.[8] A small Chaldean Catholic community was established in the town in the 19th century.[9] In 1913, 200 Chaldean Catholics populated Koy Sanjaq, and were served by two priests and one functioning church as part of the archdiocese of Kirkuk.[10]

The Iraqi census of 1947 recorded a total population of 8198 people, with 7746 Muslims, 268 Jews, and 184 Christians.[11] 80-100 Jews from the village of Betwata took refuge in the town for several months in 1950, increasing the size of the local community to 350-400 people, so to accompany the Jews of Koy Sanjaq when they emigrated to Israel in the following year.[11] Koy Sanjaq had a population of 10,379 in 1965.[1] The town was struck by Iranian airstrikes targeting the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) base on 10 November 1994, resulting in the death of a civilian, and wounded three KDP militants.[12] In 1999, Assyrians from the nearby village of Armota protested the construction of a mosque in their village at Koy Sanjaq.[13] Koya University was established in 2003.[14]

35 displaced Assyrian families from Mosul were housed in a converted church building in the town in November 2014, and had not been rehoused as of April 2015.[15] As of March 2018, 60 Assyrian families inhabit Koy Sanjaq.[16] The Assyrian population largely speak Kurdish, but some continue to speak Syriac.[17] An Iranian missile attack on the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan headquarters in the town on 8 September 2018 killed 14 people.[18]

Notable people[edit]

  • Haji Qadir Koyi (1817-1897), Kurdish poet
  • Dildar (1918-1948), Kurdish poet
  • Tahir Tewfiq (1922–1987), Kurdish musician
  • Fuad Masum (b. 1938), Kurdish politician and President of Iraq (2014-2018)
  • Rounak Abdulwahid Mustafa (b. 1942) First Lady of Iraq (2014-2018), wife of Fuad Masum
  • Aras Koyi (b. 1972), Kurdish musician

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Alternatively transliterated as Kūsanjaq, Koi Sanjaq, Kou Senjaq, Koisanjaq, Köy Sancak, Köi Sanjaq, Kuway Sandjaq, Kou Senjak, Kuysanjaq, Koysancak.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Kūsanjaq". World Gazetteer. Archived from the original on 2013-02-09. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  2. ^ "The Jerusalem Post: Êrişa Îranê ya li Koye peyamek e ji bo Amerîka, Erebistan û Îsraîlê". Rudaw Media Network (in Kurdish). 10 September 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  3. ^ "ڕێگای کۆیە - تەقتەق دادەخرێت". Basnews (in Kurdish). 19 December 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  4. ^ "كويسنجق". Ishtar TV (in Arabic). Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Cemetery, Koi Senjaq (Koy Sinjaq), Iraq". Diarna: The Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Koysenjaq". Ishtar TV. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Mutzafi (2004), pp. 1–2.
  8. ^ Mutzafi (2004), p. 5.
  9. ^ Wilmshurst (2000), p. 127.
  10. ^ Wilmshurst (2000), p. 176.
  11. ^ a b Mutzafi (2004), p. 1.
  12. ^ "Iranian Jets Bomb Kurdish Base in Iraq, Killing 1 and Hurting 3". New York Times. 10 November 1994. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  13. ^ Lalik (2018), pp. 236–237.
  14. ^ "The University". Koya University. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  15. ^ "Displaced Christian families in Koya appeal not to be forgotten". World Vision International. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Churches in Koya don't meet needs of Kurdistan's Christians". Rudaw Media Network. 13 March 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  17. ^ Lalik (2018), pp. 235–236.
  18. ^ "Iran rockets Kurdish parties' headquarters in Kurdistan Region's Koya". Rudaw Media Network. 8 September 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2020.


  • Lalik, Krzysztof (2018). "Ethnic and Religious Factors of Chaldo-Assyrian Identity in an Interface with the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan". In Joanna Bocheńska (ed.). Rediscovering Kurdistan’s Cultures and Identities: The Call of the Cricket. Springer.
  • Mutzafi, Hezy (2004). The Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Koy Sanjaq (Iraqi Kurdistan). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag.
  • Wilmshurst, David (2000). The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, 1318–1913. Peeters Publishers.

Coordinates: 36°05′N 44°38′E / 36.083°N 44.633°E / 36.083; 44.633