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Not to be confused with Zazi.
Total population
1 to 3 million[1][2]
Regions with significant populations
Diaspora: Approx. 300,000[2]
Australia,[3] Austria,[4] Belgium,[4] France,[4] Germany,[3] Netherlands,[4]
Sweden,[4] Switzerland,[4] United Kingdom,[5] United States.[3]
Zaza, Turkish, Kurdish[6]
Sunni Islam,[7] Alevism
The Zazas (also known as Kird, Kirmanc or Dimili)[8][9] are a people in eastern
Anatolia who natively speak the Zaza language. Their heartland, the Dersim region,
consists of Tunceli, Bing�l provinces and parts of Elazig, Erzincan and Diyarbakir
provinces. The majority of Zazas consider themselves ethnic Kurds, part of the
Kurdish nation,[3][10][11][12] and they are often described as Zaza Kurds.[9][13]

Contents [hide]
1 Demographics
2 Ethnogenesis
3 Historic roots of the Zazas
4 Language
5 Connection to Kurds
6 Zaza nationalism
7 See also
8 References
The exact number of Zazas is unknown, due to the absence of recent and extensive
census data. The most recent official statistics concerning native language are
available for the year 1965, where 147,707 (0.5%) chose Zaza as their native
language in Turkey.[16] It is also important to note that many Zazas only learned
Kurdish (Kurmanji), as it was believed that the Zaza language was just a Kurdish
offshoot.[6] According to a KONDA survey from March 2007, Kurds and Zazas together
comprise an estimated 13.4% of the adult population and 15.68% of the whole
population in Turkey.[17]

While almost all linguists agree that the Zaza language is not a Kurdish dialect
but rather an independent language just like Gorani, they also agree on the fact
that Zazas and Kurds are ethnically and culturally linked. Ludwig Paul also
mentions that the ethno-cultural point is the decisive factor for the question of
the ethnic identity of Zaza speakers.[14][18] A scientific report from 2005
concluded that Zazas are very similar to Kurds genetically.[19] Zaza and Kurdish
languageas belong to the Indo-European languages family.

Historic roots of the Zazas[edit]

Linguistic studies shows that the Zazas may have immigrated to their modern-day
homeland from the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. Some Zazas use the word Dimli
(Daylami) to describe their ethnic identity. The word Dimli (Daylami) also
describes a region of Gilan Province in today�s Iran. Some linguists connect the
word Dimli with the Daylamites in the Alborz Mountains near the shores of the
Caspian Sea in Iran and believe that the Zaza have migrated from Daylam towards the
west. Today, Iranian languages are still spoken in southern regions of the Caspian
Sea (also called the Caspian languages), including Sangsari, Mazanderani, Tati,
Semnani, and Talysh, and they are grammatically and lexically very close to Zaza;
this supports the argument that Zazas emigrated from the southern regions of the
Caspian Sea reaching eastern Anatolia.[20]

Main article: Zaza language
Zazaki probably originates from northern Iran, from the historical region
"Deylaman" at the Caspic sea, in the present province of Gilan. Today the Iranian
languages still spoken there (also called the Caspian dialects) like Sangsari,
Mazandarani, Tati (Herzendi), Semnani, Taleshi are grammatically closer to Zazaki
than Kurdish. Apart from the presently in Balochistan spoken Balochi, only Gorani,
which is spoken in a few remote areas in Iran and Mesopotamia, have relatively
closer linguistic affinity with Zazaki.[21]

The first written statements in the Zaza language were compiled by the linguist
Peter Lerch in 1850.[22] Two other important documents are the religious writings
(Mewlid) of Ehmede Xasi of 1899,[23] and of Usman Efendiyo Babic (published in
Damascus in 1933); both of these works were written in the Arabic alphabet.[24] The
state owned TRT Kurd� airs shows on Zaza language.[25]

Connection to Kurds[edit]

"Zaza Kurds in Diyarbakir (Kurdistan)", E.Chantre & C.Barry, 1881

Kurds and Zazas have for centuries lived in the same areas in Anatolia. In the
1920s and 1930s, Zazas played a key role in the rise of Kurdish nationalism with
their rebellions against the Ottoman Empire and later the Republic of Turkey.
During the Sheikh Said rebellion in 1925, the Zaza Sheikh Said and his supporters
(both Zazas and Kurds) rebelled against the newly established Turkey for its
nationalist and secular ideology.[26] In 1937 during the Dersim rebellion, Zazas
once again rebelled against the Turks. This time the rebellion was led by Seyid
Riza and ended with a massacre of thousands of Kurdish and Zaza civilians, while
many were internally displaced due to the conflict.[27] Zazas also participated in
the Kurdish Ko�giri rebellion in 1920.[8]

Sakine Cansiz, a Zaza from Tunceli was a founding member of Kurdistan Workers Party
(PKK), and like her many Zazas joined the rebels. Other noticeable Zaza individuals
in PKK are Bese Hozat and Mazlum Dogan.[28][29] Many Zaza politicians are also to
be found in the fraternal Kurdish parties of HDP and DBP, like co-chairman of HDP
Selahattin Demirta�, Aysel Tugluk, Ayla Akat Ata and G�ltan Ki�anak. On the other
hand, some Zazas have publicly said they don't consider themselves Kurdish like
H�seyin Ayg�n, a CHP politician from Tunceli.[30][31][32]

Zaza nationalism[edit]
Main article: Zaza nationalism
Zaza nationalism grew primarily in the diaspora, because of the more visible
difference between Kurds and Zazas.[33]

Some Kurds and international foundations suggest a link between the founder of Zaza
nationalism, Ebubekir Pamuk�u (d. 1993), and the Turkish intelligence services.[3]
The Zaza nationalistic movement was welcomed and financially supported by certain
circles in Turkey�s intelligence establishment and Pamukcu has since been accused
of having ties to Turkish intelligence.

In an interview with Kurdmedia, Kurdish-Zaza linguist Mehemed Malm�sanij said the

name of this �Zazaistan� publisher was the �Zaza Culture and Publication House� and
was part of the Turkish intelligence services with the task of attacking the
Kurdish nationalist movement. �The conclusion that I draw� is that these [Zaza
nationalist groups] were groups based in the state, or with a more favorable
expression, groups that thought in parallel with the state�.[33]

See also[edit]
Sedat Bucak
Jump up ^ Duus (EDT) Extra, D. (Durk) Gorter, Guus Extra, The Other Languages of
Europe: Demographic, Sociolinguistic and Educational Perspectives, Multilingual
Matters (2001). ISBN 1-85359-509-8. p. 415. Cites two estimates of Zaza-speakers in
Turkey, 1,000,000 and 2,000,000, respectively. Accessed online at Google book
^ Jump up to: a b "Dimli". IranicaOnline. Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 27 April
^ Jump up to: a b c d e Arakelova, Victoria (1999). "The Zaza People as a New
Ethno-Political Factor in the Region": 397. JSTOR 4030804.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f Selim, Z�lf�. "Zaza Dilinin Geli�imi" (PDF) (in Turkish).
Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
Jump up ^ "Turkey's Zaza gearing up efforts for recognition of rights". H�rriyet
Daily News. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
^ Jump up to: a b "Turkey: The Country's Zaza are Speaking Out About their
Language". Eurasianet.org. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
Jump up ^ Paul Joseph White, Joost Jongerden. Turkey's Alevi Enigma: A
Comprehensive Overview. pp. 17�18. ISBN 9789004125384.
^ Jump up to: a b Lezg�n, Ro�an. "Among Social Kurdish Groups � General Glance at
Zazas". Zazaki.net.
^ Jump up to: a b Malmisanij (1996). "Kird, Kirmanc, Dimili or Zaza Kurds".
Istanbul: Deng Publishing.
Jump up ^ Kehl-Bodrogi; Otter-Beaujean; Barbara Kellner-Heikele (1997).
Syncretistic religious communities in the Near East : collected papers of the
international symposium "Alevism in Turkey and comparable syncretistic religious
communities in the Near East in the past and present", Berlin, 14-17 April 1995.
Leiden: Brill. p. 13. ISBN 9789004108615.
Jump up ^ Kehl-Bodrogi, Krisztina (October 1999). "Kurds, Turks, or a People in
their own Right? Competing Collective Identities Among the Zazas". The Muslim
World. 89 (3-4): 442. doi:10.1111/j.1478-1913.1999.tb02757.x.
Jump up ^ Nodar Mosaki (14 March 2012). "The zazas: a kurdish sub-ethnic group or
separate people?". Zazaki.net. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
Jump up ^ Taylor, J. G. (1865). "Travels in Kurdistan, with Notices of the Sources
of the Eastern and Western Tigris, and Ancient Ruins in Their Neighbourhood".
Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London. 35: 39. doi:10.2307/3698077.
^ Jump up to: a b van Bruinessen, Martin. "The Ethnic Identity of the Kurds in
Turkey" (PDF): 1. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
Jump up ^ �zoglu, Hakan (2004). Kurdish notables and the Ottoman state : evolving
identities, competing loyalties, and shifting boundaries. Albany: State University
of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-5993-4.
Jump up ^ "UN Demographic Yearbooks". Unstats.un.org. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
Jump up ^ "55 milyon ki�i 'etnik olarak' T�rk". Miliyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 27
April 2015.
Jump up ^ K�hler, herausgegeben von B�rbel (1998). Religion und Wahrheit :
religionsgeschichtliche Studien : Festschrift f�r Gernot Wiessner zum 65.
Geburtstag. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. pp. 385�399. ISBN 3447039752.
Jump up ^ Nasidze, Ivan; Quinque, Dominique; Ozturk, Murat; Bendukidze, Nina;
Stoneking, Mark (July 2005). "MtDNA and Y-chromosome Variation in Kurdish Groups".
Annals of Human Genetics. 69 (4): 401�412. doi:10.1046/j.1529-8817.2005.00174.x.
PMID 15996169.
Jump up ^ Sims-Williams, ed. by Nicholas (1998). Old and middle Iranian studies
(PDF). Wiesbaden: Reichert. pp. 163�177. ISBN 9783895000706. Retrieved 23 June
Jump up ^ [1]
Jump up ^ J.A. Lerch, Peter. "Forschungen �ber die Kurden und die Iranischen
Nordchaldaer" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2015.
Jump up ^ Mela Ehmede Xas�.; Mihan�. (1994). "Mewlude neb�". OCLC 68619349.
Retrieved 23 June 2015.
Jump up ^ Shoup, John A. (2011). Ethnic groups of Africa and the Middle East an
encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598843637.
Jump up ^ "Playing Kurdish card". Hurriyet. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
Jump up ^ Kaya, Mehmed S. (2009). The Zaza Kurds of Turkey : a Middle Eastern
minority in a globalised society. London: Tauris Academic Studies. ISBN
Jump up ^ "Can Kurds rely on the Turkish state?". Today's Zaman. 14 October 2011.
Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
Jump up ^ "Portre: Bese Hozat" (in Turkish). 17 February 2014. Retrieved 19
February 2016.
Jump up ^ "Sakine Cansiz: 'a legend among PKK members'". The Guardian. 10 January
2013. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
Jump up ^ "K�rt degilim T�rkmenim" (in Turkish). Haber Vaktim. 4 December 2011.
Retrieved 19 February 2016.
Jump up ^ "Dersimli K�rt degildir ��nk� K�rtler �afii'dir!". Sabah. 8 June 2011.
Retrieved 19 February 2016.
Jump up ^ "Meclis'e si�rayan polemi" (in Turkish). Habert�rk. 30 May 2013.
Retrieved 19 February 2016.
^ Jump up to: a b van Wilgenburg, Wladimir (28 January 2009). "Is Ankara Promoting
Zaza Nationalism to Divide the Kurds?". Terrorism Focus. The Jamestown Foundation.
6 (3). Retrieved 1 April 2017.
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