Ottoman Odyssey: Travels Through a Lost Empire

Ottoman Odyssey: Travels Through a Lost Empire

by Alev Scott


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An exploration of the contemporary influence of the Ottoman Empire on the wider world, as the author uncovers the new Ottoman legacy across Europe and the Middle East.

Alev Scott’s odyssey began when she looked beyond Turkey’s borders for contemporary traces of the Ottoman Empire. Their 800 years of rule ended a century ago—and yet, travelling through twelve countries from Kosovo to Greece to Palestine, she uncovers a legacy that’s vital and relevant; where medieval ethnic diversity meets twenty-first century nationalism—and displaced people seek new identities.

It's a story of surprises. An acolyte of Erdogan in Christian-majority Serbia confirms the wide-reaching appeal of his authoritarian leadership. A Druze warlord explains the secretive religious faction in the heart of the Middle East. The palimpsest-like streets of Jerusalem's Old Town hint at the Ottoman co-existence of Muslims and Jews. And in Turkish Cyprus, Alev Scott rediscovers a childhood home. In every community, history is present as a dynamic force.

Faced by questions of exile, diaspora and collective memory, Alev Scott searches for answers from the cafes of Beirut to the refugee camps of Lesbos. She uncovers in Erdogan's nouveau-Ottoman Turkey a version of the nostalgic utopias sold to disillusioned voters in Europe and America. And yet—as she relates with compassion, insight, and humor—diversity is the enduring, endangered heart of this fascinating region.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643130750
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 05/07/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 358,685
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Alev Scott was born in 1987 to a Turkish mother and a British father. She studied Classics at New College, Oxford, where she was taught by Robin Lane Fox. After graduating, she worked in London as an assistant director in theater and opera before moving to Istanbul in 2011. Alev taught herself Turkish and immersed herself in the Turkish side of her heritage and wrote the widely acclaimed Turkish Awakening: Behind the Scenes of Modern Turkey, which was published by Faber in 2014. The book was brilliantly reviewed by Norman Stone, Owen Matthews, and Elif Shafak among others. She has since reported from Turkey for a wide number of newspapers, most specifically for the Financial Times.

Table of Contents

Map xi

Introduction: Sultans Old and New xiii

Names and Pseudonyms xviii

A Historical Note: Classified Infidels xix

Turkey: Heart of the Empire 1

Istanbul 2

Ziya 9

The Sacré Coeur 14

Antakya 17

Izmir and the Levantines 21

The Afro Turks 26

Scattered Pomegranates 41

An Empire Enriched 42

Thessaloniki 48

Hidden Synagogues 52

1915 64

Yerevan 71

Western Armenia 81

Ghosts of Troy 85

Cyprus 85

Foreign Soil 90

Ayvalik 96

Thrace 105

Aegean Turks 120

Granny Sifa 124

Minarets in the West 131

Bridge on the Drina 131

Missionary Zeal 136

The Art of War Zones 143

Serbia 150

Kosovo and Skopje 156

Minarets and Muftis 164

Spires in the East 175

Jerusalem and the West Bank 175

The Hanging Gardens of Haifa 193

Beirut 200

An Islamic State Enclave 210

Ain Dara 214

Warlords and Sheikhs 217

Memleket 229

Homeland 229

Fenced Life 232

Conjugations 235

Minced Words 240

Coffee Cups 246

Return of the Native 255

Exile 259

Timeline of Countries 267

Notes 277

Index 283

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