Where to Visit in Hakkari

Hakkari Province, is a province in the southeast of Turkey. The administrative centre is the city of Hakkari. The province had a population of 278,218 in 2021. The current Governor is İdris Akbıyık. The province encompasses 8 municipalities, 140 villages and 313 hamlets. The province is a stronghold for Kurdish nationalism and a hotspot in the Kurdish–Turkish conflict. Hakkâri province is divided into five districts; Çukurca District, Derecik District (since 2018), Hakkari District, Şemdinli District, Yüksekova District

Hakkari Province is located in Turkish Kurdistan and has an overwhelmingly Kurdish population. The province is tribal and most of the Kurds adhere to the Shafiʽi school with the Naqshbandi order having a strong presence around  Şemdinli. The Kurdish tribes in the province include the Doski, Ertuşi, Gerdi, Herki, Jirki and Pinyaniş. The area had a significant Christian Assyrian population from various tribes before the Assyrian genocide in 1915. The Assyrian tribes in the region were Jilu, Dez, Baz, Tkhuma, Tal and Tyari. Relations between Assyrians and Kurds have been described as ‘tense coexistence’ due to the ability to coexist despite the recurring disputes over land and life stock and robbery of each other and of travelers. Assyrian resentment in the region was more directed towards the Ottomans than the Kurds, due to the Ottoman hostility towards the Christian minority, viewing them as a disloyal non-Muslim component.

Hakkari Sanjak, part of Van Vilayet, had a population of 5,896 in 1881-1882 of which 81.9% was Muslim and 18.1% Christian.

In the 1945 census, 98.8% of the population was Muslim, while Jews constituted the largest religious minority with 0.1%. Only one Christian was enumerated in 1945, a Protestant denomination. In the same census, Kurdish and Turkish were the first language for 87.8% and 11.4% of the population. The Jewish population left for Israel shortly after 1948. In the 1950 census, 89.5% of the population spoke Kurdish as first language, while the second largest first language was Turkish at 9%. In the subsequent census of 1955, Kurdish constituted the first language for 88.4% of the population and Turkish for 11.5%. The same census found 100% of the population to be Muslim. Kurdish and Turkish remained the two largest first languages in the 1960 census for 80.7% and 19.2% of the population, respectively. As with the previous census, Muslims constituted 100% of the population. In the last census conducted in Turkey in 1965, Kurdish remained the largest first language with 86.2%, while Turkish remained the second largest first language at 12.3%. 99.1% of the population was Muslim and 0.8% was Christian in 1965.

In 1980, the only language spoken in rural parts was Kurdish while both Kurdish and Turkish were spoken in urban areas, due to the presence of military and civil officials from other parts of Turkey.

In order to Turkify the local population, in June 1927 the Law 1164 was passed which allowed the creation of Inspectorates-General (Umumi Müffetişlik, UM). The province therefore was included in the so-called First Inspectorate General, which span over the provinces of Hakkâri, Siirt, Van, Mardin, Bitlis, Sanlıurfa, Elaziğ, and Diyarbakır. The first UM was created on the 1 January 1928 and centered in Diyarbakır. The UM was governed by an Inspector General, who governed with a wide-ranging authority over civilian, juridical and military matters. The office of the Inspector General was dissolved in 1952 during the government of the Democrat Party. Hakkari though was still banned for foreign citizens until 1965.

From July 1987 to August 2002 Hakkari was within the OHAL state of emergency region. It was Governed by a so-called Supergovernor, who was invested with additional powers than a normal Governor. He was given authority over all the other provincial Governors in the OHAL area and also the power to permanently relocate and resettle the village’s population.

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