The many faces of Turkish Odessa - Ecumenical communities and multiple alliances across the Black Sea
Focaal—Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 70 (2014)
Black Sea Currents
Edited by Caroline Humphrey and Vera Skvirskaja
Focaal—Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 70 (2014): 49-63
The many faces of Turkish Odessa Ecumenical communities and multiple alliances across the Black Sea
In this article, Vera Skvirskaja 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. It is argued 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.