Tortum (Ottoman Turkish: تورتوم‎) is a town and district of Erzurum Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey. The population is 4,507 as of 2010. There are 4 different ethnic groups in the district. The current mayor is Muammer Yiğider from the Great Unity Party (BBP).[3]

Tortum city center
Tortum city center
Tortum is located in Turkey
Coordinates: 40°17′53″N 41°37′57″E / 40.29806°N 41.63250°E / 40.29806; 41.63250Coordinates: 40°17′53″N 41°37′57″E / 40.29806°N 41.63250°E / 40.29806; 41.63250
 • MayorMuammer Yiğider (BBP)
 • KaymakamFatih Ürkmezer
 • District1,467.36 km2 (566.55 sq mi)
 • Urban
 • District
 • District density14/km2 (35/sq mi)
Post code
Tortum lake

Ethnicity distribution


Tortum was part of the area known as Tayk or Upper Tao and was ruled by Armenians, Romans, Persians, Byzantines and Georgians. Tortum was a part of Armenian Ayrarat Kingdom (4th - 3rd centuries BC), Kingdom of Greater Armenia (2nd century BC - 5th century) and Bagratid Armenia (9th - 11th centuries). Between the 13th and 17th century it was part of the Georgian principality of Samtskhe-Saatabago. It was first an Ottoman vassal in the early 16th century and was annexed in 1550.[5] The area of Tortum was contested by the Safavids and the Ottoman Empire in the 16th-17th century but remained Ottoman after 1625.[5] Armenians made up the vast majority of the population in Tortum. During Georgian rule, half of the ethnic Armenian population became Chalcedonians and joined the Georgian Orthodox church, while the rest of the Armenians remained part of the Armenian church. Armenian cleric Hakop Karnetsi recorded in the 1650s that a man named Mullah Jaffar took census and placed heavy taxes in the region, causing the Armenian Chalcedonians to convert en-masse to Islam.Tortum was a sanjak in Erzurum Eyalet. The region was in the early Ottoman period largely Christian but acquired a Muslim majority in the mid 18th century.[5] During World War I, Ottoman troops crossed Tortum in the disastrous Battle of Sarikamish. Then the Russians occupied the town and held it between 1915 and 1917. After the February revolution of 1917 they left it to the Armenians. The Ottoman army advanced some time later and captured Tortum on 16 March 1918. The town has a ruined citadel.

The Muslim Armenians continued to speak Armenian well into early the 19th century when they were Turkified.[6][7]


As of 1920, Tortum was producing coal.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ "Erzurum Tortum Seçim Sonuçları - 31 Mart 2019 Yerel Seçimleri". Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  4. ^ Caucasian Exodus of 1864: Russian Colonization of Caucasia, War and Exodus (Turkish)[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b c Sinclair, T.A. (1989). Eastern Turkey: An Architectural & Archaeological Survey, Volume I. Pindar Press. pp. 39–40. ISBN 9780907132325.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Prothero, W.G. (1920). Armenia and Kurdistan. London: H.M. Stationery Office. p. 72.

External linksEdit