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Tunceli Province

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Tunceli Province
Province of Turkey
Location of Tunceli Province in Turkey
Location of Tunceli Province in Turkey
Country Turkey
Region Central East Anatolia
Subregion Malatya
Government
� Electoral district Tunceli
Area
� Total 7,774 km2 (3,002 sq mi)
Population (2014)[1]
� Total 82,193
� Density 11/km2 (27/sq mi)
Area code(s) 0428[2]
Vehicle registration 62
Tunceli Province (Kurmanji Kurdish: parezgeha Dersime, Zazaki: Desim, Turkish:
Tunceli ili[3]), formerly Dersim Province, is located in the Eastern Anatolia
region of Turkey. Its population mostly consists of Alevi Kurds (Kurmanj and Zaza
speaking Kurds). The province was originally named Dersim Province (Dersim
vilayeti), then demoted to a district (Dersim kazasi) and incorporated into El�zig
Province in 1926.[4] It was finally changed to Tunceli Province on January 4,
1936[5] by the "Law on Administration of the Tunceli Province" (Tunceli Vilayetinin
Idaresi Hakkinda Kanun), no. 2884 of 25 December 1935,[6][7][8] but some still call
the region by its original name. The name of the provincial capital, Kalan, was
then officially changed to Tunceli to match the province's name.

The adjacent provinces are Erzincan to the north and west, Elazig to the south, and
Bing�l to the east. The province covers an area of 7,774 km2 (3,002 sq mi) and has
a population of 76,699. It has the lowest population density of any province in
Turkey, just 9.8 inhabitants/km2. Tunceli is the only province of Turkey with an
Alevi majority.

Tunceli is known for its old buildings such as the �elebi Aga Mosque,[9] Sagman
Mosque,[10] Elti Hatun Mosque and adjoining Tomb,[11] castles including Mazgirt
Castle,[12] Pertek Castle,[13] Derun-i Hisar Castle,[14] and impressive natural
scenery, especially in Munzur Valley National Park, the largest national park of
Turkey.

Contents [hide]
1 Geography
2 History
2.1 Armenians of Dersim
3 Dersim Alevi Kurds
3.1 Armenian Alevis
4 Name changes
5 Districts
6 Cities and towns
7 Education
8 References
9 External links
Geography[edit]
See also: Munzur Valley National Park
Tunceli is traversed by the northeasterly line of equal latitude and longitude.

History[edit]
The history of the province stretches back to antiquity. It was mentioned as
'Daranalis' by Ptolemy, and seemingly, it was referred to as 'Daranis' before him.
One theory as to the origin of the name associates with the Persian Emperor Darius.
Another, more likely hypothesis (considering the region's Armenian background),
says the name Daranalis or Daranaghis comes from the historical Armenian province
of Daron, of which Dersim belonged.

The name Daranaghi in what's today Dersim, that in the Mamigonian was times part of
Daron.
The area that would become Dersim province formed part of Urartu, Media, the
Achaemenid Empire, and the Greater Armenian region of Sophene. Sophene was later
contested by the Roman and Parthian Empires and by their respective successors, the
Byzantine and Sassanid Empires. Arabs invaded in the 7th century, and Seljuq Turks
in the 11th.[15]

As of the end of the 19th century, the region (called "Dersim") was included in the
Ottoman sancak (subprovince) of Hozat, including the city and the Vilayet of
Mamuret-�l Aziz (Elazig today), with the exception of the actual district of
P�l�m�r, which was in the neighboring sancak of Erzincan, then a part of the
Vilayet of Erzurum. This status continued through the first years of the Republic
of Turkey, until 1936 when the name of the province ("Dersim") was changed to
Tunceli, literally 'the land of bronze' in Turkish (tun� meaning 'bronze' and el
(in this context) meaning 'land') after the brutal events of the Dersim rebellion.
The town of Kalan was made the capital and the district of P�l�m�r was included in
the new province.

Armenians of Dersim[edit]
Prior to the Armenian Genocide, The Armenians of Dersim lived peacefully alongside
the Alevi Zazas, who partially assimilated into and had various Armenian beliefs.
[16] During the Armenian Genocide, many of the regions Armenians were living among
the Alevi Zazas of the region, with whom they had good relations with.[17] This
allowed the Armenians to avoid deportation, and therefore survive the genocide
unscathed, because their Alevi neighbors didn't have any negative affinity towards
Armenians, and as explained before were somewhat Armenian themselves. The Armenians
lived quietly in their mountain villages until 1938, when Turkish soldiers invaded
the region to put down a Dersim rebellion, and in the process blew up the St
Karapets monastery and killed around 60,000-70,000[18][19][20] Alevis and Armenians
alike, causing an abrupt end to any open Armenian life in the province. Armenians
now were forced to assimilate fully into the Alevi population, moving from their
majority Armenian villages to blend in better with the population, and therefore
becoming Crypto-Armenians.[21] In modern times, many Armenians have recently tried
to regain their identity with catalysts being Turkeys EU accession bid and Hrant
Dinks murder, with the Union of Dersim Armenians being formed as an organization
with their interests in mind.

Dersim Alevi Kurds[edit]

Tunceli is the only province of Turkey with an Alevi majority.


It has been noted that the Alevi Kurds in Dersim are different than general Turkish
Alevism. General Alevism consider themselves Turkic Nomads Shamanic Muslims and a
branch off of Islam, while Dersim Alevi Kurds don't consider themselves as Muslims
and categorize their Alevism beliefs under Zoroastrian rather than Islam. They do
not go to Mosques nor read from the Quran, their religion consists mostly of
traditional Kurdish culture, spiritual and folklore beliefs. They have been
practicing Alevism before the Ottoman Empire came to the Middle East and many
believe Munzur, Dersim to be the heartland of the Alevi religion. Where holy
places, all of which are natural features of the landscape, are found in abundance,
and where the region�s isolation has insulated it from the influence of Sunni
Islam, helping to keep its unique Alevi character relatively pure.[22] An example
of this would be Newroz, the Kurdish New Year and a key date in Zoroastrian. The
Alevi Kurds come out to sing and dance around the fire, they dress in traditional
clothing, wear a red band over their heads and play soft music to their land. This
is an important spiritual event to the Dersim Alevis and is considered a holy day,
much like Christmas is to Christians. Well other Kurds celebrate this holiday for
freedom, the Alevi Kurds celebrate it for mostly religious purposes. They sing and
dance as a way to pray to their gods/land, so that their crops and flowers can grow
healthy. They lit candles so the good spirits may bring them luck inside their
home. Their New Year is held usually between 18 and 24 March. The Dersim Alevi
Kurds are a minority within a minority, as they're suppressed by not only their
culture for being Kurdish, but also their religion as a large number of Turks and
Kurds outside of Dersim/Tunceli are Sunni Muslim. The Alevi Kurds have a history of
being attacked and discriminated by Sunni Muslims in the past, both by the Ottoman
Empire and Kurdish Sunni Muslims from other provinces due to their religion.

� "If you really call yourself Alevi," says Bulut, "there is not really room
for it in Islam, as a Muslim". --Kadir Bulut, 30, is one of the few remaining
"dedes" in Tunceli.[23]
"Davutoglu's visit was an attempt at assimilation, he tried to define a Muslim,
define us Alevis as Muslims, and we do not want this." --Engin Dogru, head of the
Kurdish Democratic Regions Party in Tunceli[24]


Armenian Alevis[edit]
Because the Alevis have lived with their fellow Christian Armenians for centuries,
they have Christian values mixed in with their religion more than any other Alevi
tribes in Turkey. Because of this most Armenians chose to convert to Alevism
instead of Sunni Islam when they were being suppressed by the Ottoman Empire. The
Christian Armenians could still freely practice their Christian beliefs within
Alevism in Dersim. Their fellow Kurdish Dersim Alevis would encourage their
Christian beliefs and would keep their true religion a secret from being prosecuted
from Sunni Muslims. Keeping the Armenian's religion and beliefs a secret, along
with not participating in the Armenian Genocide and even helping the Armenians
escape their death, the Dersim Armenians have a strong bond with the Dersim Alevis
and Dersim Zazas.[25][26]

Name changes[edit]
After the Dersim rebellion, any villages and towns deemed to have non-Turkish names
were renamed and given Turkish names in order to suppress any non-Turkish heritage.
[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36] During the Turkish Republican era, the
words Kurdistan and Kurds were banned. The Turkish government had disguised the
presence of the Kurds statistically by categorizing them as Mountain Turks.[37][38]

Ni�anyan estimates that 4,000 Kurdish geographical locations have been changed
(Both Zazaki and Kurmanji).[39] The people of Tunceli have been actively fighting
to get their province reverted to its old Kurdish name "Dersim". Turkey's ruling
Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) claimed they are working on what it called
a �democratization package� that includes the restoration of the Kurdish name of
the eastern province of Tunceli back to Dersim in early 2013, but there has been no
updates or news of it since then.[40]

Districts[edit]
Tunceli Province is divided into eight districts (capital district in bold):

�emi�gezek
Hozat
Mazgirt
Nazimiye
Ovacik
Pertek
P�l�m�r
Tunceli
Although a distinct province, Tunceli was administered from Elazig until 1947.

Cities and towns[edit]


Tunceli City 31,599 inh.
Pertek City 11,869 inh.
Hozat City 4,714 inh.
Ovacik City 3,227 inh.
�emi�gezek City 2,819 inh.
Akpazar Town 1,769 inh.
Mazgirt City 1,712 inh.
P�l�m�r City 1,656 inh.
Nazimiye City 1,636 inh.
Education[edit]
Ninety-eight percent of Tunceli's population has at least a primary school
education, leading to one of the highest rates of literacy for a district within
Turkey. In 1979/1980 Tunceli had the highest number of students attending
universities as well as the top entry points until the only higher education school
shut down and was converted to a military base.

Tunceli University was established on May 22, 2008.[41] It has departments in


international relations, economics, environmental protection engineering,
industrial engineering, electronic engineering, computer engineering and mechanical
engineering.

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External links[edit]
Official Homepage of the Province Governor
Official Homepage of the Culture and Tourism head office
Official Homepage of the police head office
Official Homepage of the Education head office
Official Homepage of the health head office
Education
[3]
[show] v t e
Tunceli Province of Turkey
[show] v t e
Turkey Provinces of Turkey
Coordinates: 39�12'53�N 39�28'17�E

Categories: Articles containing Kurmanji Kurdish-language textTunceli


ProvinceProvinces of TurkeyTurkish KurdistanZazaish inhabited regions
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