Tortum city center
|• Mayor||Muammer Yiğider (BBP)|
|• Kaymakam||Fatih Ürkmezer|
|• District||1,467.36 km2 (566.55 sq mi)|
|• District density||14/km2 (35/sq mi)|
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 group in the district. The current mayor is Muammer Yiğider from the Great Unity Party (BBP).
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. The area of Tortum was contested by the Safavids and the Ottoman Empire in the 16th-17th century but remained Ottoman after 1625. 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. 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.
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