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Adıyaman Province

Adıyaman Province
Adıyaman ili
Mount Nemrut
Location of the province within Turkey
Location of the province within Turkey
 • GovernorOsman Varol
7,337 km2 (2,833 sq mi)
 • Density87/km2 (220/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+3 (TRT)
Area code0416

Adıyaman Province (Turkish: Adıyaman ili, Kurdish: Parêzgeha Semsûr[2]) is a province in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. The capital is Adıyaman. Its area is 7,337 km2,[3] and its population is 635,169 (2022).[1] The province is considered part of Turkish Kurdistan and has a Kurdish majority.[4]

Adıyaman Province was part of the province of Malatya until 1954, when it was made into a province as a reward for voting for the winning Democratic Party in the 1954 general election.[5]


Early Armenian rule

Armenian existence in Adıyaman dates back to the 4th century, where they were known as 'fire worshippers'. Armenians lived in the area when Muslim Arabs captured the area in 639. The Arabs considered the city as part of Armenia and experienced immigration from Byzantine Armenia due to Byzantine oppression in 713. The city came under Seljuk rule after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 and the local Armenians established principalities in the area. One of these principalities was founded by Philaretos Brachamios who tried to protect the land between the Seljuk and the Byzantine. After his death, the region came under control of various chieftains such as Kogh Vasil and Constantine of Gargar.[6] The region around Gargar and the Mor Bar Sauma Monastery became a particular base of power for local chiefs of Syrian and Armenian origin.[7]

The Armenians had good relations with the European Crusader states, but the Crusader County of Edessa would advance against the Armenians in Adıyaman. Political leaders in Adıyaman were also victims of assassinations by Edessa. The wife of Kogh Vasil founded an army to protect the area from Edessa as well, but Edessa ultimately captured the area. Close relations between the Armenians and the Crusader states, however, continued until Nur ad-Din captured the area in 1150. The area came under the rule of Timurtash of the Artuqids for his support for Nur ad-Din and later the Seljuks from the beginning of the 13th century. The locals failed at removing the rulership of Kilij Arslan II during the late 12th century. In the subsequent period, the area was fought over between the Mamluk Sultanate and the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, changing hands between the two until it finally came under permanent Mamluk control.[8]

Ottoman rule

Ottoman Sultan Selim I captured the area during the Ottoman–Mamluk War in 1516-1517. In the first defter of the area in 1519, it was mentioned that the Kurdish Reşwan tribe populated the area. Documents from 1524 and 1536 also contain records of the Reşwan tribe living in the area. The tribe was engaged in agriculture after having had a nomadic lifestyle.[9]

Evliya Çelebi visited the city in the 17th century and described the agricultural life.[10]

At the beginning of the 19th century, most Armenians lived near the castle of Adıyaman city and mostly made their living through shop keeping and trading. In the villages, they were involved in agriculture and animal husbandry. The local Armenians welcomed American missionaries approaching them during the 19th century at first, but prevented them from converted them later on. Some of the Gregorian Armenians did however convert to Protestantism and the missionaries ultimately divided the local Armenian community. Ainsworth visited the town of Adıyaman in the 1842 and mentioned that the town contained 800 Muslim households and 300 Armenian households and that it had several mosques but no churches. After his visit to the town, he visited the Kurdish village of Kerkunah in the outskirts and afterwards Kâhta, where he mentioned that a Kurdish rebellion was taking place.[11] Most of the rural areas spoke Kurdish in 1882, while Turkish was prevalent in Adıyaman town.[12]

Armenian nationalism increased among the Armenians by the end of the century and most of the Armenian population fell victim to the Armenian genocide in 1915. There are, however, still some Armenians around Kâhta.[8]

The area was part of Mamuret-ul-Aziz Vilayet as Behisni, Hasanmansur and Kahta districts. These three districts had a total population of 99,439 in 1914 of which 93.4% was Muslim and 6.6% Christian.[13]

Republican era

The names of 224 villages in Adiyaman Province was Turkified as part of the campaign to remove any mention of Kurdishness in the country.[14] In 1932, the whole region was chiefly populated by Kurds.[15] The province had a population of 208,755 in 1955 of which 99.8% adhered to Islam and 0.2% to Christianity.[16] In 1960, the province had a population of 233,717 of which 99.7% was Muslim and 0.3% Christian.[17] In 1965, the population increased to 267,277 of which 99.8% was Muslim and 0.2% Christian.[18] The Turkish authorities put the province under State of emergency (OHAL) in the early 1990s as part of the Kurdish–Turkish conflict.[19]

In 2023, 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş also affected Adıyaman.


The province consists of the districts Adıyaman (center district), Besni, Çelikhan, Gerger, Gölbaşı, Kâhta, Samsat, Sincik and Tut.


YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: Population censuses (1914-2000)[13][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27] and TÜIK (2010-2022)[28]

Out of the 339 villages in the province, 296 are populated by Kurds while the remaining 43 are populated by Turks. In terms of religious affiliation, 293 of the villages have an Hanafi population, 80 villages with an Alevi population and two villages are reported to having a Shafi'i population.[29]

The majority of the population is Hanafi Kurdish,[30][31] with a significant Kurdish Alevi population.[32] One estimate from 2014 places the Alevi population at 11%.[33] The province is generally more pious than other Kurdish areas in Turkey[34] and has been a hotspot for radicalization and Islamism in recent years (see Dokumacılar).[35] Historian Şahidin Şimşek argued that Hanafi adherents in the province had been manipulated by the state to believe that Kurdish nationalism equated to Alevism. Another theory points at the poverty in the province.[36]

The Kurdish tribes in the province include the Alikan, Atman, Balyan, Belikan tribe, Bêzikan, Birîmşa, Bîstikan, Canbegan, Celikan, Dêrsimî, Dirêjan, Gewozî, Hevêdan, Heyderan, Hûriyan, Izol, Kawan, Kerdizan, Kîkan, Kirvar, Mirdesan, Molikan, Mukriyan, Pîrvan, Reşwan, Şavak,[37] Sinemilli, Sînanka, Şêxbizin and the Teşikan tribe.[38][39]

The Alevis of the western districts of Besni, Gölbaşı and Tut are Turkmen and Kurdish.[40]


  1. ^ a b "Address-based population registration system (ADNKS) results dated 31 December 2022, Favorite Reports" (XLS). TÜİK. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  2. ^ "Parêzgeha Semsûrê çûn û hatina bajêr qedexe kir". Peyama Kurd (in Kurdish). 2 April 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  3. ^ "İl ve İlçe Yüz ölçümleri". General Directorate of Mapping. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  4. ^ "Kurds, Kurdistān". Encyclopaedia of Islam (2 ed.). BRILL. 2002. ISBN 9789004161214.
  5. ^ "Adıyaman Tarihi" (in Turkish). Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  6. ^ Beihammer 2017, p. 42.
  7. ^ MacEvitt 2010, p. 293.
  8. ^ a b Dalyan, Murat Gökhan. "A Glance at the History of Armenians in Adıyaman". Marmara University. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  9. ^ Dede, Suat (December 2011). "From nomadism to sedentary life in Central Anatolia: The case of the Risvan tribe (1830 - 1932)" (PDF). Bilkent University School of Economics and Social Sciences: 20–21 & 68. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  10. ^ Arslan, Ramazan (2010). "XIX. Yüzyılda Adıyaman'da Sosyo-Ekonomik Yapı" (PDF). Dumlupınar Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi (in Turkish) (26). Kütahya Dumlupınar University: 5.
  11. ^ Ainsworth, W. F. (1842). Travels and Researches in Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Chaldea, and Armenia. Vol. I. pp. 267–271.
  12. ^ Arslan, Ramazan (2010). "XIX. Yüzyılda Adıyaman'da Sosyo-Ekonomik Yapı" (PDF). Dumlupınar Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi (in Turkish) (26). Kütahya Dumlupınar University: 4.
  13. ^ a b Karpat, Kemal (1982). Ottoman population 1830-1914. The University of Wisconsin Press. p. 146. ISBN 9780299091606.
  14. ^ Tuncel, Harun (2000). "Türkiye'de İsmi Değiştirilen Köyler English: Renamed Villages in Turkey" (PDF). Fırat University Journal of Social Science (in Turkish). 10 (2): 28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 November 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  15. ^ Oriental Institute Communications: Tell Asmar and Khafaje: The First Season's Work in Eshnunna 1930/31. Vol. 13–19. Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 1932. p. 129.
  16. ^ Dündar, Fuat (2000), Türkiye nüfus sayımlarında azınlıklar (in Turkish), p. 202, ISBN 9789758086771
  17. ^ Dündar, Fuat (2000), Türkiye nüfus sayımlarında azınlıklar (in Turkish), p. 211, ISBN 9789758086771
  18. ^ Dündar, Fuat (2000), Türkiye nüfus sayımlarında azınlıklar (in Turkish), p. 222, ISBN 9789758086771
  19. ^ Yavuz, Hakan (2001). "Five stages of the construction of Kurdish nationalism in Turkey". Nationalism and Ethnic Politics. 7 (3): 1–24. doi:10.1080/13537110108428635. S2CID 144320678.
  20. ^ Kopar, Metin (2017), "Adıyaman in The State Annuals Of Turkish Republic (1925-1930)", Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi (in Turkish): 185, retrieved 22 April 2021
  21. ^ "1935 General Census" (PDF) (in Turkish). Turkish Statistical Institute. 1935. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 August 2022.
  22. ^ "1950 General Census" (PDF) (in Turkish). Turkish Statistical Institute. 1950. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 January 2022.
  23. ^ "1960 General Census" (PDF) (in Turkish). Turkish Statistical Institute. 1960. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 July 2022.
  24. ^ "1970 General Census" (PDF) (in Turkish). Turkish Statistical Institute. 1970. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 August 2022.
  25. ^ "1980 General Census" (PDF) (in Turkish). Turkish Statistical Institute. 1980. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 June 2022.
  26. ^ "1990 General Census" (PDF) (in Turkish). Turkish Statistical Institute. 1991. Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 August 2021.
  27. ^ "2000 Census of Population" (PDF) (in English and Turkish). Turkish Statistical Institute. 2003. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  28. ^ "Population Of SRE-1, SRE-2, Provinces and Districts". TÜIK. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  29. ^ Peter Alfred, Andrews; Benninghaus, Rüdiger, eds. (1989). Ethnic Groups in the Republic of Turkey. p. 179.
  30. ^ "Kurds, Kurdistān". Encyclopaedia of Islam (2 ed.). BRILL. 2002. ISBN 9789004161214.
  31. ^ Turkish state (2014), pp. 13–35.
  32. ^ Yalçın, Kemal (2004). Sari gyalin. Birzamanlar Yayincilik. p. 157. ISBN 9789756158050.
  33. ^ Rençber, Fevzi (2014). "Adıyaman Alevilerinin Coğrafi Dağılımları ve Demografik Yapısı". Mezhep Araştırmaları (in Turkish): 15.
  34. ^ Pamuk, Humeyra (15 October 2015). "Small Turkish town haunted by lost sons, hand of Islamic State".
  35. ^ Yavuz, M. Hakan; Ali Özcan, Nihat (2015). "Turkish Democracy and the Kurdish Question". Middle East Policy. 22 (4): 73–87. doi:10.1111/mepo.12159.
  36. ^ Bozarslan, Murat (23 July 2015). "The Islamic State's secret recruiting ground in Turkey". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  37. ^ "Kültürel Kimliklerin Çeşitliliği Bağlamında Özgün Bir Örnek: Şavak Aşireti". Dil Ve Tarih Coğrafya Fakültesi Antropoloji Dergisi. (in Turkish). 26. Ankara University: 129–156. 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  38. ^ Oncu, Mehmet (2019). Ferhenga devoka herêma Semsûrê. Sîtav. pp. 20–326. ISBN 9786057920607.
  39. ^ Aşiretler raporu (in Turkish). Kaynak Yayınları. 1998. pp. 21–34.
  40. ^ "Adıyaman Alevilerine kısa bir bakış". Alevi Net (in Turkish). 16 March 2017.

Further reading

37°48′02″N 38°18′19″E / 37.80056°N 38.30528°E / 37.80056; 38.30528

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Adıyaman Province
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