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Ezine, Turkey

EZINE, district of Çanakkale, Turkey. Ezine was situated in the vicinity of many important cities like Troy, Neadria, and Alexandria Troas. The Ottoman domination in this region began in the 1350s. Ezine became an important settlement point owing to its fertile land and trade routes. The first Jewish presence in Ezine can be traced back to 1845 when five "alien" (yabanciyan) Jews were reported. Overpopulation of the Jews in Çanakkale brought same families to Ezine Centrum as well as to other parts of the district, such as Bayramiç, Kumkale, and Yenişehir in the late 19th century. The Jews lived in a small quarter composed of 40 households and today known as Yahudi Sokağı. In 1894 there were 130 Jews in Ezine, 60 in Bayramiç, 24 in Kumkale, and 13 in Yenişehir. During the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I, the Jewish population in Ezine temporarily increased due to mass flight from the battlefields. The Jewish community in Ezine was attached to Çanakkale for religious purposes until the Gallipoli Campaign. Thus, it had neither a synagogue nor a private cemetery. Ezine Jews were engaged in peddling, export of grain, bonito, leather, and cotton, butchery, jewelry, green groceries, money-changing, and viniculture. The Hakim, Kohen, Yuday, Ruso, and Elinda families were the best known Jewish families in Ezine. After the establishment of the Turkish Republic, the Jewish population in Ezine began to diminish. Official records show that in 1927 there were only 31 Jews. The small Jewish presence lasted until the 1960s. Among the Jewish cultural heritage are a few Jewish houses and one synagogue whose building later served as a place to remove seeds from cotton and today is abandoned.

Sources:Cezair-i Bahr-i Sefid Vilayet Salnamesi (1293), 86; Karasi Vilayet Salnamesi (H.1305), 141; Ezine Nüfus Müdürlüğü, 3 Sıra Numaralı Esas Defteri, 105–52; A. Galanté, Histoire des Juifs d'Anatolie, 4 (İstanbul, 1987), 223; J.M. Cook, The Troas: the Archeological and Topographical Study (1973), 316, 374–82; V. Cuinet, La Turquie d'Asie, 3 (1894), 696, 763–70.

[M. Mustafa Kulu (2nd ed.)]

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