Sasun

This article is about the area in Turkey. For the genus of spiders, see Sason (genus).
Sason
Sason
Sason

Coordinates: 38°22′49″N 41°23′43″E / 38.38028°N 41.39528°E / 38.38028; 41.39528Coordinates: 38°22′49″N 41°23′43″E / 38.38028°N 41.39528°E / 38.38028; 41.39528

Country Turkey
Province Batman
Government
 • Mayor Muzaffer Arslan (AKP)
 • Kaymakam Yusuf İzzet Karaman
AreaTemplate:Turkey district areas
 • District Template:Turkey district areas km2 (Formatting error: invalid input when rounding sq mi)
Population (Template:Turkey district populations)Template:Turkey district populations
 • Urban Template:Turkey district populations
 • District Template:Turkey district populations
Post code 72500
Website

Sason (Armenian: Սասուն Sasun, Sasoun; Kurdish: Qabilcewz from Arabic: قبل جوز‎; formerly known as Sasun, also spelled Sassoun) is a district in the Batman Province of Turkey. It was formerly part of the sanjak of Siirt, which was in Diyarbakır vilayet until 1880 and in Bitlis vilayet in 1892. Later it became part of Muş sanjak in Bitlis vilayet, and remained part of Muş until 1927. It was one of the districts of Siirt province until 1993.

History

Historically the area was known as Sasun, part of the historical Armenian Highland. The region was ruled by the Mamikonian dynasty from around 772 until 1189/1190, when the Mamikonians moved to Cilicia after being dispossessed by Shah-Armen.[1]

The Ottoman period

The region was eventually conquered by the Ottoman Empire, becoming part of the sanjak of Muş in vilayet of Bitlis, and continued to hold a substantial population of Armenians.[2] During this period, Sasun was a federation of some forty Armenian villages, whose inhabitants were known as Sasuntsis (Armenian: Սասունցի).[2] Surrounded by fierce Kurdish tribes to whom they were often forced to pay tribute, the Sasuntsis were able to maintain an autonomy free of Turkish rule until the end of the 19th century when the Kurds themselves were finally brought under government control.[2][3] Proud warriors, the Sasuntsis made all their weapons and relied on nothing from the outside world.[2]

In 1893, some three to four thousand nomadic Kurds from the Diyarbekir plains entered Sasun region, intent on pillage. The Kurds were responsible for bringing economic ruin to the agrarian community of the Armenian villagers: they would steal livestock and demand the Armenians to pay a second tax (that is, a separate tax in addition to the one Armenians paid to the Ottoman government).[4][5][6] When Armenians decided to challenge Kurdish extortion, a fight ensued and a Kurd was killed. Using the Kurd's death as a pretext by describing that a revolt had taken place, Turkish officials endorsed a Kurdish attack against the Armenians of Sasun.[7]

The Kurds, however, were successfully driven off by the armed Armenian villagers, but that success was now seen as a possible threat by the Ottoman authorities. In 1894 the villagers refused to pay taxes unless the Ottoman authorities adequately protected them against renewed Kurdish attacks and extortions. Instead, the government sent a force of about 3,000 soldiers and Kurdish irregulars to disarm the villagers, an event which ended in a general massacre of between 900 to 3,000 men, women and children. The "Sasun affair" was widely publicised and was investigated by representatives from the European Powers, resulting in demands that Ottoman Turkey initiate reforms in the six "Armenian vilayets". Abdul Hamid's response to those demands culminated in the anti-Armenian pogroms of 1895 and 1896.[8]

As part of the Hamidian massacres, McDowall estimates at least 1,000 Armenian villagers were slain in the Sason atrocity,[9] all of which was instigated by the buildup of Ottoman troops in early 1894.[10] Officials and military officers involved in the Sason massacres were decorated and rewarded.[11]

Modern Sason

Today, most of Sason's population is Kurd or Zaza. An Armenian minority may still exist (in 1972 there were estimated to be some 6,000 Armenian villagers in the region).[12]

Culture

The area was the setting for the Armenian epic Sasna Tsrer (Daredevils of Sassoun) which was rediscovered in 1876 and is now better known as Sasuntsi Davit ("David of Sasun").[2] This epic dates from the time of the invasion of Armenia by the Caliphs of Egypt (about 670), in which the Armenian folk hero of the same name drives foreign invaders from Armenia.[13]

See also

  • Sasun Resistance (1894)
  • Sasun Uprising (1904)

References

External links

  • Armenian History and Presence in Sason
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