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.The author’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.
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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.