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Varto is located in Turkey
Coordinates: 39°10′10″N 41°27′15″E / 39.16944°N 41.45417°E / 39.16944; 41.45417Coordinates: 39°10′10″N 41°27′15″E / 39.16944°N 41.45417°E / 39.16944; 41.45417
Country Turkey
 • MayorÜlkü Karaaslan (HDP)
 • District GovernorErtuğrul Avci
 • District1,365.44 km2 (527.20 sq mi)
1,650 m (5,410 ft)
 • Urban
 • District
 • District density25/km2 (64/sq mi)
Post code

Varto (Kurdish: Gimgim‎,[3] Medieval Greek: Barzanissa) is a town and district in Muş Province, Turkey.

The population of Varto city is around 13,000 with another 17,000 living in the villages.

The largest population from Varto in Europe is in Berlin, Germany.


Some 150,200 Armenians were living in the district of Varto in 1914, including 600 in the town of Varto. 8 churches, 3 monasteries and 5 schools catered to them.[4] In June 1915 during the Armenian Genocide, a great number of Varto's Armenian were massacred in the valley of Newala Ask.[5]

Varto was the site of major fighting during the Sheikh Said rebellion in 1924, and the site of the 1966 earthquake that killed nearly 3,000 people.

In the 1990s Varto was one of the hotbeds of Kurdish militancy led by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Although the city did not see ongoing battles, it was the hometown of many fighters and leading PKK commanders. The Turkish military garrison stationed in the city is surrounded by barbed wire and sandbags. The garrison patrols the city in armored personnel carriers (cars), though there was no fighting in or around the city since the 1990s until August 2015 when fighting between Turkish security forces and PKK began again. Most Kirmancki Zazaki language speakers are Alevis, whereas most Kurmanci Kurdish language speakers are Sunnis. The communities had a separate and quiet existence until the 1980s. In the district of Varto exist 100 villages.[6]


The former mayor Sabite Ekinci Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), was arrested on 9 November 2016 on charges of "being a member of a terrorist organization" and removed from her duty. District Governor Mehmet Nuri Çetin was appointed as trustee in her stead.[7][8] The current mayor Ülkü Karaaslan was elected in the local elections in March 2019 [9] and as district governor, Ertuğrul Avci was appointed.[10]


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ Adem Avcıkıran (2009). Kürtçe Anamnez Anamneza bi Kurmancî (PDF) (in Turkish and Kurdish). p. 56. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  4. ^ de Bellaigue, Christopher (2010). Rebel Land: Unraveling the Riddle of History in a Turkish Town. pp. 85.
  5. ^ Thomas, De Waal. Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide. p. 243.
  6. ^ "Köyler". Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  7. ^ "Varto belediyesine Kaymakam atandı". NTV. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Şafak, Yeni (2019-11-22). "Muş Varto Seçim Sonuçları – Varto Yerel Seçim Sonuçları". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  10. ^ "Kaymakamımız". Retrieved 2019-11-23.

Further reading[edit]

  • De Bellaigue, Christopher, Rebel Land: Among Turkey's Forgotten Peoples. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.

External links[edit]