Ararat rebellion

Ararat rebellion
Part of Kurdish rebellions in Turkey

From left to right: Halis Bey, Ihsan Nuri Pasha, Ferzende Bey[1]
DateOctober 1927 – September 17, 1930
LocationKaraköse Province (present day Ağrı Province), Turkey

Decisive Turkish victory


Kurdish Republic of Ararat

Commanders and leaders
Turkey Mustafa Kemal
Turkey İsmet İnönü
Turkey Fevzi Çakmak
Turkey İbrahim Tali Öngören
Turkey İzzettin Çalışlar
Turkey Salih Omurtak

Ihsan Nuri
Ibrahim Heski

Halis Öztürk
Units involved
Third Army (IX Corps, VII Corps)
Other sources:
10,000-15,000 troops[2][3][4]
Casualties and losses

The Ararat rebellion, also known as the Ağrı rebellion, was an uprising amongst the Kurdish inhabitants of the province of Ağrı in eastern Turkey against the Turkish government that took place in 1930.

The leader of the Kurdish guerrilla forces during this rebellion was Ihsan Nuri from the Kurdish Jibran tribe.[12]


In 1926 Ibrahim Heski commanded the Hesenan, Jalali and Haydaran tribes and started a rebellion (May 16-June 17, 1926).[13] On 16 May, Kurdish forces fought against the 28th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division of the Turkish army and a Gendarmie regiment in Demirkapı region. Turkish troops were defeated and the scattered 28th Regiment had to retreat towards Doğubeyazıt.[14]

On June 16/17, Ibrahim and his forces were surrounded by 28th and 34th regiments, but they could escape by Yukarı Demirkapı to Iran.[15]


On June 11, 1930, armed responses to the rebellion were initiated by the Turkish military against the Ağrı insurgents. According to Wadie Jwaideh, Xoybûn, the Kurmanci Kurdish nationalist organization co-ordinating the rebellion, urgently appealed for help from Kurds. It was a Kurdish rebellion by mostly Kurmancî Kurds, which greatly outnumbered the Kizilbash of Dersim. That is why, much to the Turks' dismay, Xoybûn's appeal was answered on a wide front by a counteroffensive at Mount Tendürek, Iğdır, Erciş, Mount Süphan, Van and Bitlis, forcing the Turks to temporarily abandon their offensive against Ağrı.[16] The rebels were gradually crushed by the superior numbers of the Turkish military.[17][18]

The commander of the rebellion documented the role of the Turkish air force in defeating the Ağrı revolt in his book entitled La Révolte de L'Agridagh (The Mount Ararat revolt).[19]

Last offensive against Mount Ararat

By the end of summer 1930 the Turkish Air Force was bombing Kurdish positions around Mount Ararat from all directions. According to Gen. Ihsan Nuri, the military superiority of the Turkish Air Force demoralized Kurds and led to their capitulation.[20]

During the insurrection, the Turkish Air Force also bombed several Kurdish tribes and villagers. For instance, Halikanli and Herki tribes were bombed on July 18 and August 2, respectively. Rebel villages were continually bombed from August 2-29.[21] From June 10-12 Kurdish positions were extensively bombed, and this forced the Kurds to retreat to higher positions around Mount Ararat. On July 9 the newspaper Cumhuriyet reported that the Turkish air force was "raining down" Mount Ararat with bombs.[22] Kurds, who escaped the bombings, were captured alive. On July 13, the rebellion in Zilan was suppressed.[23] Squadrons of 10-15 aircraft were used in crushing the revolt. On July 16, two Turkish planes were downed.[23] Aerial bombardment continued for several days and forced Kurds to withdraw to the height of 5,000 m (16,000 ft). By July 21, bombardment had destroyed many Kurdish forts. During these operations, Turkish military mobilized 66,000 soldiers (contrary to this Robert W. Olson gives the number of 10,000-15,000 troops in another work,[2] other works state these numbers as well[3][4]) and 100 aircraft.[24] The campaign against the Kurds was over by September 17, 1930.

The insurrection was defeated in 1931, and Turkey resumed control over the territory.


Because the border between Turkey and Persia ran up the side of Lesser Ararat to its peak, Turkey was unable to stop Kurdish fighters from crossing the border at that location. To solve this problem Turkey demanded that it be ceded the entire mountain. On January 23, 1932, Persia and Turkey signed the Agreement related to the fixing of the frontier between Persia and Turkey (official name in French "Accord relatif à la fixation de la ligne frontière entre la Perse et la Turquie") in Tehran. Turkey received total control over the Lesser Ararat and Ağrı Mountains and territory between the Armenian village of Guirberan and Kuch Dagh. As compensation, Persia gained ninety square miles in the neighbourhood of Qotur (قطور).[25]

Cultural influences

See also


  1. Rohat Alakom, Hoybûn örgütü ve Ağrı ayaklanması, Avesta, 1998, ISBN 975-7112-45-3, p. 180. (Turkish)
  2. 1 2 Robert W. Olson: Imperial meanderings and republican by-ways: essays on eighteenth century Ottoman and twentieth century history of Turkey, Isis Press, 1996, ISBN 9754280975, page 142.
  3. 1 2 3 Robin Leonard Bidwell, Kenneth Bourne, Donald Cameron Watt, Great Britain. Foreign Office: British documents on foreign affairs--reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print: From the First to the Second World War. Series B, Turkey, Iran, and the Middle East, 1918-1939, Volume 32, University Publications of America, 1997, page 82.
  4. 1 2 Soner Çağaptay: Islam, secularism, and nationalism in modern Turkey: who is a Turk?, Routledge, ISBN 1134174489, page 38
  5. Yusuf Mazhar, Cumhuriyet, 16 Temmuz 1930, ... Zilan harekatında imha edilenlerin sayısı 15,000 kadardır. Zilan Deresi ağzına kadar ceset dolmuştur...
  6. Ahmet Kahraman, ibid, p. 211, Karaköse, 14 (Özel muhabirimiz bildiriyor) ...
  7. Ayşe Hür, "Osmanlı'dan bugüne Kürtler ve Devlet-4", Taraf, October 23, 2008, Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  8. M. Kalman, Belge, tanık ve yaşayanlarıyla Ağrı Direnişi 1926–1930, Pêrî Yayınları, İstanbul, 1997, ISBN 975-8245-01-5, p. 105.
  9. "Der Krieg am Ararat" (Telegramm unseres Korrespondenten) Berliner Tageblatt, October 3, 1930, "... die Türken in der Gegend von Zilan 220 Dörfer zerstört und 4500 Frauen und Greise massakriert."
  10. Martin van Bruinessen, "Zaza, Alevi and Dersimi as Deliberately Embraced Ethnic Identities" in '"Aslını İnkar Eden Haramzadedir!" The Debate on the Ethnic Identity of The Kurdish Alevis' in Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi, Barbara Kellner-Heinkele, Anke Otter-Beaujean, Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East: Collected Papers of the International Symposium "Alevism in Turkey and Comparable Sycretistic Religious Communities in the Near East in the Past and Present" Berlin, 14-17 April 1995, BRILL, 1997, ISBN 9789004108615, p. 13.
  11. Martin van Bruinessen, "Zaza, Alevi and Dersimi as Deliberately Embraced Ethnic Identities" in '"Aslını İnkar Eden Haramzadedir!" The Debate on the Ethnic Identity of The Kurdish Alevis', p. 14.
  12. Rohat Alkom, Hoybûn örgütü ve Ağrı ayaklanması, Avesta, 1998, ISBN 975-7112-45-3, p. 80. (Turkish)
  13. Faik Bulut, Devletin Gözüyle Türkiye'de Kürt İsyanları, Yön Yayıncılık, 1991, p. 79. (Turkish)
  14. Bulut, ibid, p. 80. (Turkish)
  15. Bulut, ibid, p. 83. (Turkish)
  16. Paul J. White, Primitive rebels or revolutionary modernizers?: the Kurdish national movement in Turkey, Zed Books, 2000, ISBN 978-1-85649-822-7, p. 78. (English)
  17. White, Paul J. (1995). "Ethnic Differentiation among the Kurds: Kurmancî, Kizilbash and Zaza". Journal of Arabic, Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies. 2 (2): 67–90.
  18. Jwaideh, Wadie (1960). The Kurdish Nationalist Movement: Its Origins and Development. Unpublished PhD thesis. Syracuse University, New York, p.623. ISBN 0-8156-3093-X
  19. Ihsan Nuri Pasha, La Révolte de L'Agridagh, with a preface by Ismet Cheriff Vanly, Éditions Kurdes, Geneva, 1985. (translated into Turkish: Ağrı Dağı İsyanı, Med Publications, Istanbul, 1992.(pp.98, 105, 131, 141, 156 and 164)
  20. (Olson 2000, p. 81)
  21. (Olson 2000, p. 82)
  22. (Olson 2000, p. 83)
  23. 1 2 (Olson 2000, p. 84)
  24. (Olson 2000, p. 86)
  25. Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh, Boundary Politics and International Boundaries of Iran: A Study of the Origin, Evolution, and Implications of the Boundaries of Modern Iran with Its 15 Neighbors in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea, Central Asia, and West Asia by a Number of Renowned Experts in the Field, Universal-Publishers, 2007, ISBN 978-1-58112-933-5, p. 142.


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