KORA-SONNI, a tribe in western Persian Azerbaijan. Basile Nikitine, who spells the tribe’s name “Kuresinli,” describes it as an only recently Kurdicized Turkic tribe (p. 116). This seems indeed to be the case, for when Lieut. –Col. Charles Stuart visited the Kora-sonni in October 1835, they were still regarded as Turks (pp. 124-25). Today, they are Sunni and speak Kurdish (Afšār-Sistāni, p. 170).

The tribe, which is now sedentary, is divided into two branches. One branch resides in the (dehestān)of Kora-sonni, southwest of Ḵoy. According to the Iran Azerbaycan Tetkik Raporu, in the 1920s it comprised some 250 households and occupied 15 to 20 villages (pp. 48-49). According to Irānšahr, in 1963 it comprised some 400 households (Vol. I, p. 120). The other branch resides in the dehestān of Dol, southeast of Urmiya. In 1960, it occupied nine villages (Pierre Oberling, p. 66). The capital of the Kora-sonni of Ḵoy is the village of Seylāb (Razmārā, IV, p. 416).

The Tetkik Raporu quotes “an authority” (otherwise unidentified) as having alleged that, whereas the Kora-sonni of Ḵoy came from the Caucasus, those of Urmiya originated in Van and Şemdinli. It also propounds a far-fetched etymology of the name Kora-sonni, namely that it was derived from that of a blind leader who went by the name of “Kör Hasan,” or “Blind Ḥasan” (pp. 48-49). While in the region, the author heard theories (equally implausible) to the effect that the name came from that of the Turkish city of Giresun, and that the name is a corruption of “Ḵorāsāni,” or “from Khorasan” (Oberling, p. 67).

In the early 1920s, the Kora-sonni participated in a major Kurdish uprising against the Persian government (Arfa, pp. 92-93).



Iraj Afšār-Sistāni, Ilhā, čādornešinān wa ṭawāyef-e ʿašāyeri-e Irān, Tehran, 1987.

Hassan Arfa (Ḥasan Arfaʿ), The Kurds: An Historical and Political Study, London, 1966.

Iran Azerbaycan Tetkik Raporu, Ankara, 1927.

Komisiun-e melli-e Yunesko (UNESCO) dar Irān, Irānšahr, 2 vols., Tehran, 1963-65.

Moḥammad-Jawād Maškur, Naẓari be tāriḵ-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tehran, 1971, p. 190.

Basile Nikitine “Les Afšārs d’Urumiyeh,” JA, Jan.-March, 1929, pp. 67-123.

Pierre Oberling, The Turkic Peoples of Iranian Azerbaijan, Cleveland, Ohio, 1961.

Ḥosayn-ʿAli Razmārā, Farhang-e joḡrāfiāʾi-e Irān. Ābādihā, IV, Tehran, 1951.

Lieut. -Col. Charles Stuart, Journal of a Residence in Northern Persia, London, 1854.


January 7, 2005

(Pierre Oberling)

Originally Published: July 20, 2005

Last Updated: July 20, 2005