The many faces of Turkish Odessa

Ecumenical communities and multiple alliances across the Black Sea

in Focaal
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The article discusses regional territoriality by looking at the heterogeneous community of Turkish male migrants and the multiple alliances they establish in post-Soviet Odessa, Ukraine. In its public image, the city plays down ideas of urban continuities with the Ottoman past, but new relations between Turkish newcomers and various Turkic-speaking groups in the area both create different and overlapping “ecumenical communities” and actualize long-forgotten connections or marginal historical visions. These migrants also generate important links to the area through marriage and intimate relations with Slav women. I argue that alliances between Turkish migrants and Turkic-speaking minorities and local women not only allow them to make the city their own, but also create a distance from wider Odessan society.