Turkish Intellectuals Who Have Recognized The Armenian Genocide – Ahmet Altan

Turkish Intellectuals Who Have Recognized The Armenian Genocide – Ahmet Altan –

Ahmet Hüsrev Altan (born in 1950 in Ankara, Turkey) is a Turkish journalist and author. He is the elder son of the notable journalist and writer Çetin Altan. His brother Mehmet Altan is also a journalist, writer and university professor of economy politics.

In addition to having written columns in several Turkish newspapers, including Hürriyet, Milliyet and Radikal, Altan has produced news programs for television. He was fired from Milliyet after writing a column on 17 April 1995 titled “Atakurd”, which presented an alternate history of Turkey. In 2007 he became the founding editor in chief and lead columnist of Taraf, a daily Turkish newspaper, and remained in the position until his resignation in December 2012. His novels include Kılıç Yarası Gibi (Like a Sword Wound), Aldatmak (Cheating), İsyan Günlerinde Aşk (Love in the Days of Rebellion), En Uzun Gece (The Longest Night), Tehlikeli Masallar (Dangerous Tales) and many others.(1)

According to bianet.org, Sept. 12, 2008, ‘The latest victim of article 301 is Ahmet Altan for his article “Ah Ahparik” (‘Oh brother’ in Armenian), dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The complaint was filed by the Ankara branch of the Great Union Party (2). Under the title ” Pen against sword: a profile of Ahmet Altan “, Today Zaman mentioned on Feb. 07, 2010 “Beyond exposing army scandals, Altan and his team have broken many of the most entrenched taboos of Turkish public life. On Taraf’s front page, Altan has affirmed the Armenian genocide;… “(3).

On March 6,2010 , Altan wrote in Taraf newspaper ” Why the Armenian Genocide is a matter of discussion in American, French and Swiss parliaments and not in the parliament of the Turkish Republic ? Why can we, ourselves, not discuss a matter that we deem so vital that we perceive the difference of one vote as a source of humiliation?
 If you cannot discuss your own problems, you deserve to be humiliated. If you keep silent in a matter that you find so important, you deserve to be humiliated. If you try to shut others up, you are humiliated even more. The whole world interprets the killing of so many Armenians, a number we cannot even estimate properly, as “genocide”.(4)

On Feb.2, 2012, Altan delivered a speech at the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA). Alin K. Gregorian (Mirror-Spectator – Staff) wrote “Altan has picked up the mantle of getting recognition for the Armenian Genocide within Turkey, one of many reasons that he and the staff of Taraf are routinely hauled into court. In fact, during most of his time at the podium, a picture of a Taraf front page with the headline “1915 is a Genocide” was projected on a large screen. ” She quoted Altan saying “the views of Turks are changing, though perhaps not as fast as Armenians would like. If you want Turkey to accept it* , doing it by force is very hard. Only one man [the late Hrant Dink] managed to touch millions of Turks. Forget the state; go to the people. When they understand, they will force the state to change,”(5).

Ahmet Altan delivered a lecture on May 3, 2014, on World Press Freedom Day, in İstanbul, titled ” What is journalism?” where he mentioned the Armenian Genocide saying “you know, as we approach the 100th anniversary of 1915, this subject has become an important issue in Turkey. Using a neutral expression and without using the word “genocide,” the prime minister offered his condolences to Armenians. If today a newspaper writes about the Armenian genocide using the word “genocide” and tells the truth about what happened, the first reaction will come not from the state but from its readers. There are very few newspapers that can stand up to such pressure from their readers. Readers do not want to read news articles and comments that go against their beliefs, their learned ideas and their entrenched knowledge. (6)

Altan was charged in September 2008 under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for “denigrating Turkishness”. He, along with some of his associates, carries a firearm for self-protection(1). It is impossible to summarize the ideas, opinions, thoughts and writings of such an intellectual in ա few pages. Reading Ahmet Altan articles are very interesting and are highly recommended.
*The Armenian Genocide
1- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmet_Altan
2- http://www.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/109701-writer-and-journalist-ahmet-altan-charged-with-insulting-turkish-nation
3- http://www.todayszaman.com/news-200823-pen-against-sword-a-profile-of-ahmet-altan.html
4- http://www.taraf.com.tr/makale/10325.htm
5- http://www.mirrorspectator.com/2012/02/02/altan-captivates-large-audience-with-message-of-hope-at-alma/
6- http://www.todayszaman.com/news-346713-what-are-journalists-for-by-ahmet-altan-.html

Hambersom Aghbashian

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