Coordinates: TR 39°10′10″N 41°27′15″E / 39.16944°N 41.45417°E / 39.16944; 41.45417Coordinates: TR 39°10′10″N 41°27′15″E / 39.16944°N 41.45417°E / 39.16944; 41.45417
Country  Turkey
Province Muş
  Mayor Mehmet Nuri Çetin[1] (State-appointed caretaker)
  Kaymakam Mehmet Nuri Çetin
  District 1,365.44 km2 (527.20 sq mi)
Elevation 1,650 m (5,410 ft)
Population (2012)[3]
  Urban 10,275
  District 33,746
  District density 25/km2 (64/sq mi)
Post code 496xx

Varto (Zazaki & Kurmanji: "Gımgım") is a town in eastern Turkey. The inhabitants are primarily Kurmanji Kurds and Zazaki Kurds.

The population of Varto city is around 13,000 with another 17,000 living in the villages. In summer Varto and its villages are filled by expatriates that swell the total population well past the 75,000 mark.

The largest population from Varto in Europe is in Berlin, Germany.

The elected mayor, Sabite Ekinci (BDP), was arrested on 9 November 2016 on charges of "being a member of a terrorist organization" and removed from her duty. Kaymakam Mehmet Nuri Çetin was appointed as mayor in her stead.[1]

The former mayor of Varto, Demir Celik, a pharmacist, is chairman of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).


Some 5,200 Armenians were living in the district of Varto in 1914, including 600 in the town of Varto. 8 churches, 3 monasteries and 5 schools catered to them.[4] In June 1915 during the Armenian Genocide, a great number of Varto's Armenian were massacred in the valley of Newala Ask.[5]

Varto was the site of major fighting during the Sheikh Said rebellion in 1924, and the site of the 1966 earthquake that killed nearly 3,000 people.

In the 1990s Varto was one of the hotbeds of Kurdish militancy led by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Although the city did not see ongoing battles, it was the hometown of many fighters and leading PKK commanders. The Turkish military garrison stationed in the city is surrounded by barbed wire and sandbags. The garrison patrols the city in armored personnel carriers (cars), though there was no fighting in or around the city since the 1990s until August 2015 when fighting between PKK and Turkey security forces began after the murder of an woman by turkish armed forces. Most Kirmancki Zazaki language speakers are Alevis, whereas most Kurmanci Kurdish language speakers are Sunnis. The communities had a separate and quiet existence until the 1980s. The last three decades have seen significant intermarriage, partially aided by the advance of Kurdish nationalism. Varto consists of the main city and 99 villages.


  1. 1 2 "Varto belediyesine Kaymakam atandı". NTV. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  2. "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  3. "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  4. de Bellaigue, Christopher (2010). Rebel Land: Unraveling the Riddle of History in a Turkish Town. p. 85.
  5. Thomas, De Waal. Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide. p. 243.

Further reading

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