Location of Bitlis Province in Turkey
|Region||Central East Anatolia|
|• Electoral district||Bitlis|
|• Governor||Oktay Çağatay|
|• Total||6,707 km2 (2,590 sq mi)|
|• Density||52/km2 (130/sq mi)|
Bitlis Province (Turkish: Bitlis ili, Kurdish: Parêzgeha Bidlîsê) is a province of eastern Turkey, located to the west of Lake Van. The majority of the province's population is Kurdish. The current Governor of the province is Oktay Çağatay.
Bitlis was formed as an administrative district in the 17th Century. The administrative center was the town of Bitlis (Kurdish: Bidlîs, Armenian: Բիթլիս), which was called Bagesh, in old Armenian sources.
In 1927 the office of the Inspector General was created, which governed with martial law. The Bitlis province was included in the first Inspectorate General (Umumi Müfettişlik, UM) over which the Inspector General ruled. The UM span over the provinces of Hakkâri, Siirt, Van, Mardin, Bitlis, Sanlıurfa, Elaziğ and Diyarbakır. The Inspectorate General was dissolved in 1952 during the Government of the Democrat Party.
Bitlis Province is divided into 7 districts (the capital district is in bold):
As of 1920, the province was producing small amounts of iron, copper, lead, and sulphur. Even smaller amounts of gold and silver were found in the areas of Sairt and Khairwan. Salt made up the largest mineral industry in the province, so much that it was exported to surrounding provinces. The salt was produced in pans, using evaporation, and taking 8 to 10 days to mature. The technique and trade was mainly run by local Kurds.
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