Sheylanli (Kurdish tribe)

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Sheylanli tribe (Azerbaijani: Şeylanlı tayfası; Kurdish: Eşîra Şeylanlî‎; Russian: Шейланлы, Шейлани, or Шейланы) is a Kurdish tribe [1] [2] [3] who lived in the Sheylanli village, Lachin ,[4] until it was occupied by Armenian troops[5] .[6] Since then as the victim of the war, an internally displaced persons, Sheylanlis were fled to the Aghjabadi Rayon, Azerbaijan.[7] They speak Kurmanji dialect of the Kurdish Language .[8] This tribe is considered to be one of the 24 Kurdish tribes [9] those were moved from Iran to Karabakh and Zangezur by Shah Abbas I of Iran in the 16th century to fortify the borders of the Safavid Empire .[10] Tatiana Fyodorovna Aristova gives some Sheylanli Kurdish family names such as Asadlar, Ismaillar, Nabilar, and Khudular in the book Kurdy Zakavkazia.[4] The author mentions Sheylanli, Zerty, and Minkend among the poorest Kurdish communities of Azerbaijan in Lachin.

Tribal Kurdish population in Lachin region[edit]

In the 1920s, the Kurdish community in Azerbaijan was considerably diminished, when many of them moved to Armenia where Kurdish villages were created.[11] About the same time Azerbaijan's Kurds had their own region called Red Kurdistan in the Lachin region, which was to the West of Karabakh. In fact, Lachin with the principal towns Kalbajar, Kubatli and Zangelan and the administrative sub-divisions of Karakushlak, Koturli, Murad-Khanli and Kurd-Haji were mostly inhabited by Kurds.[12] In 1930 it was abolished and most remaining Kurds were deported to Central Asia.[13] Official Azerbaijani records claim 6,000+ Kurds, while Kurdish leaders estimate as much as 150,000 (including those living in Central Asia and Russia). The problem is that the historical record of the Kurds in Azerbaijan is filled with lacunae.[14] For instance, in 1979 there was according to the census no Kurds recorded.[15] Not only did Turkey and Azerbaijan pursue an identical policy against the Kurds, they even employed identical techniques like forced assimilation, manipulation of population figures, settlement of non-Kurds in areas predominantly Kurdish, suppression of publications and abolition of Kurdish as a medium of instruction in schools.[15] Kurdish historical figures such as Sharaf Khan of Bitlis and Ahmad Khani and the Shaddadid dynasty as a whole were described as Azeris.[15] Kurds who retained 'Kurdish' as their nationality on their internal passports as opposed to 'Azeri' were unable to find employment.[15]

In the past, in what is currently West of Azerbaijan (which includes Lachin), Kurds lived with an uneasy rivalry with the Azeri Turks.[16] In modern time they harbor some animosity toward them who they associate with the Turks,[17] which is not made easier because of Azerbaijan's prevailing policy of forceful assimilation.[18]


  1. ^ Alesker, Alekperov (1960). Archaeology and Ethnography of Azerbaijan p. 143, - Sheylanli is listed among other Kurdish clans such as Babaly, Sultanly, Kullukhchi (in Russian). Baku. 
  2. ^ Sovetskaya Etnografiya (in Russian). Moscow: Izd-vo Akademii nauk: two images of Sheylanlis (Шейланы) can be found in Vol. 5-6: pp. 125, 135. 1932. 
  3. ^ Alekberov, Alesker (1936). Esseys on the study of Kurdish culture (in Russian). Baku: pp. 40-42. 
  4. ^ a b Aristova, Tatiana Fyodorovna (1966). Kurdy Zakavkazia, pp. 48, 53 (in Russian). Moscow: Izd-vo "Nauka," Glav. red. vostochnoĭ lit-ry, Index 1-6-2/111-66. 
  5. ^ "Lachin: The Emptying Lands". Institute for War & Peace Reporting. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  6. ^ Petersen, Alexandros (2008-06-07). "Negotiating a black hole". London: the Guardian. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  7. ^ "IRC - Monthly Activity Report (January 1999)". International Rescue Committee. Retrieved 2008-07-10. Mentions the name of the refugee settlement as Seilanli in the Aghjabadi 
  8. ^ "Kurdish language". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-07-08. The Kurds in the Caucasus speak Kurmanji dialect of Kurdish language 
  9. ^ "On Kurdish tribes in Caucasus" (in Russian). Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  10. ^ Sherefxan, Bidlisi (1967). On Kurdish tribes in Caucasus, p. 370 (in Russian). Moscow. 
  11. ^ Encyclopedia of World Cultures, David Levinson, G.K. Hall & Co. (1991), p.225
  12. ^ The Kurds: A Contemporary Overview, Philip G. Kreyenbroek, Stefan Sperl, Routledge, (1992), ISBN 0-415-07265-4, p.201
  13. ^ Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War, Thomas De Waal, NYU Press, ISBN 0-8147-1945-7, p.133
  14. ^ An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires, James Stuart Olson, Lee Brigance Pappas, Nicholas Charles Pappas, Greenwood Publishing Group, (1994), ISBN 0-313-27497-5, p.409
  15. ^ a b c d The Kurds: A Contemporary Overview, Philip G. Kreyenbroek, Stefan Sperl, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-07265-4, (1992), p.204
  16. ^ Iran Under the Ayatollahs, Dilip Hiro, Routledge, (1987), ISBN 0-7102-1123-6, p.111
  17. ^ Political Culture and Civil Society in Russia and the New States of Eurasia, Vladimir Tismaneanu, M.E. Sharpe, (1995), ISBN 1-56324-365-2, p.355
  18. ^ Linguistic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe, Christina Bratt Paulston, Donald Peckham, Multilingual Matters, (1998), ISBN 1-85359-416-4, p.106