Kurds in Armenia
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Kurds in Armenia
Kurds in Armenia

Kurdên Ermenistanê
Kurdish (Kurmanji), Armenian, Russian
Armenia's Kurdish population (dark green).

The Kurds in Armenia (Armenian: , romanizedK'rdery Hayastanum; Kurdish: Kurdên Ermenistanê‎), also referred to as the Kurds of Rewan[a] (Kurdish: Kurdên Rewanê‎), form a major part of the historically significant Kurdish population in the post-Soviet space, and live mainly in the western parts of Armenia. The Kurds of the former USSR first began writing Kurdish in the Armenian alphabet during the NEP era in the 1920s, followed by Latin in 1927, then Cyrillic in 1945, and now in both Cyrillic and Latin.[1]

In line with the policy of korenizatsiya, the Soviet government provided the Kurds of Armenia with access to media such as radio, education and press in their native tongue. The Soviet Armenian authorities established the Kurdish newspaper Riya Teze (The New Path), as well as a Kurdish radio broadcast from Yerevan. The first Kurdish film, Zare, was produced by Armenkino in 1926, and the first Kurdish novel, The Kurdish Shepherd (?ivanê Kurmanca) by Arab Shamilov, was published in Yerevan in 1935. There is a Kurdish Department in the Yerevan State Institute of Oriental Studies.[1]

Kurds in Armenia

The historically suspicious treatment from Armenia toward local Kurds, especially Muslim Kurds, is best explained as a reaction to the fact that Kurdish tribes in Western Armenia participated along with the Turks of the Ottoman Empire during the deportation and genocide of the Armenian populations during the World War I.[]

In the First Republic of Armenia of 1918-1920, the Kurds received political rights: a Kurdish representative elected to the Armenian parliament, some Kurds became officers of the Armenian Army and organized Kurdish volunteer units.[2]

During the Soviet period a large amount of Kurdish literature was published in Armenia, national schools and radio were opened. According to the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, Soviet Armenia was the main center of Kurdish literature.[3] In 1925 more than fifty schools were opened for the Kurds of Armenia.[4]

In 1937, during the period of Stalinism, many Kurds in Armenia, along with Kurds in Azerbaijan, became victims of forced migration, and were forcibly deported to Kazakhstan.[5][6]

The first Nagorno-Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan spilled across the region of Nagorno-Karabakh into the traditionally Kurdish populated areas in both of these countries. In the late 1980s 18,000 Kurds left from Armenia to Azerbaijan.[7]

In the period between 1992-94 the Kurdish minority of Lachin and Kelbajar districts of Azerbaijan was forced to flee due to the Armenian invasion during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War.[8]

According to the director of the Center of Kurdish research, the situation with Kurds in Armenia today is normal and there is not any open intolerance.[9] The Election Code of Armenia reserves one seat in the parliament to the representative of the Kurdish minority.[10]

Currently, the Kurds and Yazidis (Both are recognized as separate ethnicities in Armenia) are represented in 4 general assemblies of Armenia: the Kurdish Intellectuals Council, the Kurdistan Committee, the Armenian-Kurdish Friendship Council and the National Union of Yazidis. There is a Kurdish department at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the National Academy of Sciences and at David Anakhta University.[1] In addition, there is a section of Kurdish writers in the Writers' Union of Armenia.[]

Political representation

After the parliamentary elections in 2021, the Kurdish-Armenian politician Knyaz Hasanov presided over the first session of the Armenian Parliament. [11]


Kurdish and Yazidi population in Armenia (2001-2014)
Province 2001[12] 2011[13]
Number % Number %
Armenia 42,139 1.3% 37,470 1.2%
Armavir 17,793 6.4% 17,063 6.4%
Aragatsotn 7,251 5.2% 7,090 5.3%
Ararat 5,972 2.2% 5,001 1.9%
Yerevan 4,825 0.4% 3,361 0.3%
Kotayk 4,326 1.6% 3,305 1.3%
Shirak 981 0.3% 763 0.3%
Lori 802 0.3% 663 0.3%
Gegharkunik 124 0.1% 114 0%
Tavush 60 0% 44 0%
Syunik 4 0% 26 0%
Vayots Dzor 1 0% 10 0%

Kurdish-Armenian cultural relations

Prominent Armenian composer Komitas collected many Armenian, Kurdish, and Turkish folk songs,[14].

Armenian poet Hovhannes Shiraz used the motives of Kurdish legend in his famous poem "Siamanto and Khjezare".[]

Prominent Kurds of Armenia

See also


  1. ^ Kurds have historically called Armenia by the name of Rewan, in addition to the formal designation Ermenistan. Rewan is ultimately derived from the name of Armenia's capital, Yerevan.
  1. ^ a b c Leezenberg, Michiel (2015). "Soviet Kurdology and Kurdish Orientalism". In Kemper, Michael; Conermann, Stephan (eds.). The Heritage of Soviet Oriental Studies. London: Routledge. pp. 89-90. ISBN 9780415838207.
  2. ^ " ? ". Archived from the original on 2007-11-20. Retrieved .
  3. ^ in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1969-1978 (in Russian)
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of World Cultures - P 225. by David Levinson
  5. ^ "(McDowall - A Modern History of the Kurds, page 492)"
  6. ^ Kurdish Culture and Society: An Annotated Bibliography - P. 22. by Lokman I. Meho, Kelly L. Maglaughlin
  7. ^ Thomas de Waal Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War. -- New York University Press, 2004. -- page 327 -- ISBN 0-8147-1944-9, 0-8147-1945-7
  8. ^ A People without a country : the Kurds and Kurdistan. Chaliand, Gérard, 1934-, Ghassemlou, Abdul Rahman. (Revised and updated ed.). London: Zed Press. 1993. p. 203. ISBN 1856491943. OCLC 28577923.CS1 maint: others (link)
  9. ^ ?: « ? ? ? »/ Noev Kovcheg, #13, 2006
  10. ^ "DocumentView". www.arlis.am. Retrieved .
  11. ^ "National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia | Official Web Site | parliament.am". www.parliament.am. Retrieved .
  12. ^ "Ethnic composition: 2001 census". Retrieved 2018.
  13. ^ "Armenia ethnicity 2011".
  14. ^ Petsche, Johanna (2015). Gurdjieff and Music: The Gurdjieff/de Hartmann Piano Music and Its Esoteric. p. 121.
  15. ^ "Encyclopedia of World Biography on Saladin". Retrieved .
  16. ^ The medieval historian Ibn Athir relates a passage from another commander: "...both you and Saladin are Kurds and you will not let power pass into the hands of the Turks." Minorsky (1957).

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