One of the fading colors of Batman is the Yezidis. Not long ago, Turkey’s
most crowded Yezidi population lived in Batman and especially in the villages of
Beşiri. Oğuz and İkiköprü Towns, and Onbaşı, Deveboynu, Kuşçukuru, Yolkonak,
Uğurca, Üçkuyular, Kumgeçit, Uğrak and Kurukavak (Hamduna) Villages, and
Ekinciler and Meydancık hamlets of Beşiri, and Yolveren Village of Batman are
known as Yezidi villages. The Muslim people there thought that Yezidis believed in
Satan, which caused them to be prejudged, oppressed, and excluded from the society
where they lived together with the Muslims. Therefore, in the last 20-30 years most of
the Yezidis from Turkey immigrated to European countries such as Belgium, France
and especially Germany. With a population of less than 500 all over Turkey, The
Yezidis are a very small number in Batman, in fact they’re about to disappear there.
The Yezidis call themselves “Ezidiyan” and “Ezidi” and after 1930s they also used
the term “Yezidi”. It is known that the word Yezidi is derived from the Kurdish word
“ezdam”, which means “creator of me”. There are four different views to describe
the Yezidi: a religious sect deviated from Islam; the original and former religion
of the Kurdish as a continuation of Zoroastrianism; a Turkish belief dating back to
Central Asia, and finally a belief consisting of a combination of various religions.
Because only those who are born as Yezidis are called Yezidis, it is also considered as
an “ethnic religion”. Yezidis speak Kurdish but Yezidism is a religious community
without a national identity. The facts that Yezidis follow the belief of Assyrian cult of
the sun; Sheikh Adi is an Arabic dervish from Lebanon and his first believers are the
Arabic; Yezidi Sheikh Muaviye bin İsmail suggests that his ancestors are Assyrians;
and most of the Yezidis’ language is Kurdish all prove that Yezidism is a synthesized
belief rather than a national identity. One can see traces of many religions and beliefs
in Yezidi belief. It is considered that in Yezidism, worshipping the sun and the moon
has passed to the Yezidi belief from idolatry; dualism from Zoroastrianism; baptism,
blessing ritual and wine drinking from Christianity; circumcision, fast and sacrifice
from Islam. Yezidis and Sabians have some features in common especially in terms
of worship such as three time prayer. Sheikh Adiy bin Misafir, an originally Arabic
muslim religious functionary, is deemed as the founder of Yezidism.
Yezidis’ religion, which is different with its structure from the other religions in
Mesopotamia, and all their cultural narratives are based on oral tradition. Yezidis’
oral tradition and Kurdish Muslims have both similarities and definite differences.
Strans (songs accompanied by music) and Kilams (songs with various themes sung
by bards (Dengbejs) – performers) are among notable sources of Yezidi culture.