(Turkish, white sheep, from ak, white, and koyun, ram, sheep), league of nomadic tribes of Oghuz Turks in the area of the upper reaches of the Tigris River in the region of Diyarbakir during the 14th and 15th centuries, as well as the name of the dynasty that headed the league. The Ak-Koyunlu are first mentioned in the Byzantine chronicles in the year 1340. Under Uzun-Hasan (ruled from 1453 to 1478) the Ak-Koyunlu tribes crushed the state of the Kara-Koyunlu, conquered Azerbaijan, Armenia, western Iran, and Iraq, and established a state with Tabriz as capital (from 1468). Under Uzun-Hasan the state of the Ak-Koyunlu played an important role in international politics. In 1463, Venice, the pope of Rome, and Hungary entered into an alliance with this state against the Ottoman Empire. Weakened toward the end of the 15th century by feudal internecine dissensions and the growth of discontent among the people, the state of the Ak-Koyunlu was defeated at the beginning of the 16th century by the Kizilbash people led by Ismail Safavid.
I. P. PETRUSHEVSKII