Şanlıurfa Province

Şanlıurfa Province (Turkish: Şanlıurfa ili; Kurdish: Parêzgeha Rihayê[2]) or simply Urfa Province is a province in southeastern Turkey. The city of Şanlıurfa is the capital of the province which bears its name. The population is 1,845,667 (2014). The province is considered part of Turkish Kurdistan[3] and has a Kurdish majority[4] with a significant Arab and Turkish minority.[5]

Şanlıurfa Province
Şanlıurfa ili
Göbekli Tepe
Location of Şanlıurfa Province in Turkey
Location of Şanlıurfa Province in Turkey
RegionSoutheastern Anatolia
Largest CityŞanlıurfa
 • Electoral districtŞanlıurfa
 • GovernorAbdullah Erin
 • Total18,584 km2 (7,175 sq mi)
 • Total2,035,809
 • Density110/km2 (280/sq mi)
Area code00414
Vehicle registration63


Districts of the Şanlıurfa Province

Şanlıurfa province is divided into 13 districts (capital district in bold):


Area 18,584 km2 (7,173 sq. miles), the largest province of Southeast Anatolia with:

Şanlıurfa includes several major components of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (in Turkish Güneydogu Anadolu Projesi (GAP)) designed to:

  • exploit the hydropower potential of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers;
  • dramatically expand irrigation for agriculture; and
  • develop the economy of the region.

This very large-scale, state-sponsored development project involved the damming, redirecting, hydroelectric tapping and other use of rivers in this broad, semi-arid region. (The rivers then flow into Syria and Iraq). The GAP includes 22 dams and water supply for 1.8 million hectares for agricultural areas.[6]


Agriculture is the largest economic sector in Şanlıurfa province.[7]: 41  As of 2000, 43% of the province's GDP is in agriculture, 40% service, 11% industry, and 6% in construction.[7]: 44  The total GDP is $1.85 billion USD.[7]: 44 


Şanlıurfa province is a major producer of cotton, wheat, and barley.[7]: 47  Cotton production in particular increased dramatically after the GAP was initiated in 1995.[7]: 47  The influx of irrigation availability meant that many farmers could switch from dry to irrigated agriculture, and cotton's high market value enticed a majority of farmers to start planting it.[7]: 58  The province's annual cotton yield rose from 277,000 tons in 1995 to 708,602 tons in 2004.[7]: 47  By 2021, the province produces 42% of all cotton in Turkey.[8] As of 2008, the province also produced 11% of all dry legumes, 6.4% of barley, and 4% of wheat in the country.[7]: 48  Other crops include red lentil, pistachio, grape, sesame, and various vegetables.[7]: 47  In terms of animal husbandry, sheep and goats are the most important.[7]: 48  However, the employment share of agriculture has been declining.[7]: 49  Another problem is that excessive irrigation has caused increased soil salinity.[7]: 49 


Industry has been increasing in employment share in Şanlıurfa province, reached 16% in 2006.[7]: 49  The biggest industries include food processing (especially baked goods and dairy products) and textiles (especially cotton fabrics), which as of 2002 together employ 54% of industrial workers in the province.[7]: 52  Other important industries (based on location quotient) include treatment and coating of metals (especially copper) and the manufacturing of pumps, compressors, and other agricultural equipment.[7]: 53 

Important industries in Şanlıurfa province (as of 2002)[7]: 54–5 
Industry Number of firms Number of employees
Manufacture of crude oils and fats 9 86
Dairy products and cheese making 6 1,727
Ice cream manufacturing 9 19
Grain mills 142 324
Bread, pastry, and other baked goods 803 3,315
Preparing and spinning of cotton fabrics 57 966
Wood carpentry and joinery 366 766
Baked clay bricks, tiles, and other construction products 57 189
Concrete construction products 8 121
Plaster construction products 5 22
Ready-mix concrete 6 105
Metal carpentry and joinery 106 270
Forging, pressing, stamping, and roll forming of metals; as well as powder metallurgy 47 105
Treatment and coating of metals 183 317
Manufacture of pumps and compressors 19 92
Tractor manufacturing 11 34
Manufacture of non-electric domestic appliances 42 106
Manufacture of electric motors, generators, and transformers 10 73
Jewellery making 82 103
Collection, purification, and distribution of water 8 224
Test drilling and boring 7 14
General construction 67 1,993
Construction of water projects 3 794


The largest part of the service sector in Şanlıurfa province, both in GDP and employment, is wholesale and retail trade.[7]: 56  Many wholesalers and retailers in the province are closely linked to the agricultural sector - for example, through wholesale of seeds for farmers, wholesale of dairy products, retail sale of meat products, or retail sale of textiles.[7]: 56  Another important activity in this sector is freight transport by road, which has a high location quotient for the province because it lies on the main road connection between the port of Mersin and the Habur border crossing into Iraq.[7]: 56 


As of 2000, the province has a population growth rate of 30.9%, which is well above the national rate of 14.9%.[7]: 42  Average household size in the province is 6.87 people, which is above the national average of 4.5.[7]: 42  About 42% of the province's population lives in rural areas and 58% in urban areas - a somewhat lower rate of urbanization than the country as a whole, which is 65% urban.[7]: 43  The average per capita income is $1,300 USD annually.[7]: 44  The province has a low literacy rate - especially among women, who are only 52% literate in the province compared to 80% nationwide.[7]: 43  The province also has high out-migration.[7]: 43 


On 1 January 1928 the province was included into the First Inspectorate-General over which an Inspector-General ruled according to the policies recommended in Report for Reform in the East.[9] The Inspectorate was governed with martial law and span over the provinces of Hakkâri, Siirt, Van, Mardin, Bitlis, Sanlıurfa, Elaziğ and Diyarbakır.[10] The office of the Inspector General was dissolved in 1952.[10]

Şanlıurfa once being a relatively competitive province between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the True Path Party (DYP), it is now one of the most solid AKP provinces.

While the AKP managed to win Şanlıurfa with a comfortable 43.04% during the 2004 local elections, it has since then increased its margins of victory here. Following the diminishing popularity of smaller parties such as the DYP, Şanlıurfa heavily shifted towards the AKP, winning the November 2015 election with 64.55% of the votes. Şanlıurfa once again showed its status as an AKP stronghold in the 2017 referendum, with the Yes vote winning with a wide margin of 41.8%.

The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) came in second with 38.1 in the general elections in June 2015,[11] and with 28.2% the HDP was also second in the November 2015 general election.[12]

The far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) scored an exceptional 7.18% in the 1999 local elections. Its vote share eventually ebbed to a more usual 2.97% in the 2004 local elections. The MHP showed a significant recovery in the indecisive June 2015 election by winning 5.56% of the votes. However, the MHP went on to suffer from a nationwide loss in the upset November 2015 election, with its vote share declining to 2.75% in Şanlıurfa.

The centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP) usually maintains a modest share of slightly below 5%. Similar to the other two opposition parties, the CHP suffered a loss in Şanlıurfa, going from 4.10% in the June 2015 election to 2.70% in the November 2015 election.

The current Governor of Sanliurfa is Abdullah Erin.[13]

Places of interestEdit

The province is famous for its Abrahamic sites such as Balıklıgöl, where Prophet Abraham was cast by Nimrod into fire that is believed to have turned to water. Also the Mevlid-i Halil Mosque, where Abraham is believed to be born in the cave next to the mosque is well known.[14] Within the province, approximately 12 km (7 mi) northeast of the city of Şanlıurfa, is the pre-historic site of Göbekli Tepe, where continuing excavations have unearthed 12,000-year-old sanctuaries dating from the early Neolithic period, considered to be the oldest temples in the world, predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years.

The following tombs and sacred spots are located within the province:[15]


Metropolitan Municipality Government Mayors of ŞanlıurfaEdit


  1. ^ "Population of provinces by years - 2000-2018". Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Li Rihayê 15 roj qedexe hat ragihandin" (in Kurdish). Rûdaw. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Kurds, Kurdistān". Encyclopaedia of Islam (2 ed.). BRILL. 2002. ISBN 9789004161214.
  4. ^ Mutlu, Servet (1996). "Ethnic Kurds in Turkey: A Demographic Study". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 28 (4): 527. ISSN 0020-7438.
  5. ^ Mehmet Gürses (2018). Anatomy of a Civil War: Sociopolitical Impacts of the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey. University of Michigan Press. p. 11. ISBN 9780472131006.
  6. ^ "GAP Regional Development Administration". gap.gov.tr. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Pirili, Menevis Uzbay; Barbaros, R. Funda (2008). "Regional Development in Şanlıurfa Province, the Center of South Eastern Anatolian Project (GAP): Key Sector Analysis". International Conference on Emerging Economic Issues in a Globalizing World, ĐIzmir, 2008: 41–71. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  8. ^ Şimşek, Yağmur Melis (12 October 2021). "Şanlıurfa expects high yield in cotton". Textilegence. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  9. ^ Üngör, Umut. "Young Turk social engineering : mass violence and the nation state in eastern Turkey, 1913– 1950" (PDF). University of Amsterdam. p. 258. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  10. ^ a b Jongerden, Joost (1 January 2007). The Settlement Issue in Turkey and the Kurds: An Analysis of Spatical Policies, Modernity and War. BRILL. p. 53. ISBN 978-90-04-15557-2.
  11. ^ "Şanlıurfa Haziran 2015 Genel Seçimi Sonuçları". Yeni Safak. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  12. ^ Şafak, Yeni (28 March 2020). "Şanlıurfa Seçim Sonuçları 2015 – Genel Seçim Kasım 2015". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Şanlıurfa Valiliği". www.sanliurfa.gov.tr. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  14. ^ Delanghe, Cyriane (20 August 2018). Harper & Hicks: 2 – Les larmes de Zénobie (in French). p. 18. ISBN 978-2-36475-431-7.
  15. ^ TÜRBELER

External linksEdit