By Hambersom Aghbashian
Altan Tan (born on September 11, 1958 in Batman – Turkey) is a Kurdish politician, writer, and a member of the Turkish parliament. His father Bedii Tan was killed under torture in Diyarbakir Prison following the Military Coup of 12 September 1980 in Turkey. Altan Tan is a construction engineer; he completed his primary and secondary education in Diyarbakir in 1976, then graduated from Ankara State Engineering and Architecture Academy- Department of Civil Engineering in 1981. Following his military service (1982-1984), he became Deputy Mayor of Ankara Kecioren Municipality (1984-1985). He served at the Central Executive Committee of the Welfare Party (Refah Partisi) (1990-1991). In 1993, he was one of the founding members of the Great Change Party (Buyuk Degisim Partisi – BDP), which was founded under the leadership of Aydin Menderes. Tan was elected to BDP’s General Executive Board. However, he took a break from politics for sometime and returned to it in 2000. later he was a member of Peace and Democracy Party, and served at the Party’s Parliamentary Council (2000-2002). Altan Tan was elected as a member to the Turkish parliament representing Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, and was a member of the recent Parliamentary Constitution Committee and a member of Inter-parliamentary Turkey-Angola Friendship Group. He wrote articles for New Ground, Democracy and Contract magazine, the New Agenda, New Dawn, Time, Ozgur Politika, and others. Altan Tan has published 3 books. In addition to Turkish, Tan speaks with moderately good level of Arabic, Kurdish and English. He is married and has six children. (1)
According to www.armeniapedia.org, Oct 17 2011, in an interview with Aghos newspaper Altan Tan restated his words recently said in the international scientific conference in Artuklu University in Turkey, and insisted that “Kurds and Muslims also played a role in the 1915 Genocide implemented against Armenians. “Not all Kurds though took a sword. However, Kurds do have their serious share of blame in the Genocide,” Altan also criticized the attitude of the Muslims in rejecting the Genocide, and had earlier stated that as a political figure he calls the 1915 events Genocide implemented against Armenians. No matter what the conditions were, those people were killed. The proof is the territory and the demographic situation. At that time 13 million people lived in Turkey and Armenians made 10% of the population. Currently the population is 75 million, while Armenians are only 40,000, MP had stated. (2)
On May 22, 2015, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Altan Tan reiterated in his speech that Genocide was committed against the Armenian people in 1915, News.am reports citing Turkish Arca news agency. The MP dwelled upon the pre-elections developments in Turkey, condemning the continuous attacks against the Kurdish party, while addressing a press conference in Bursa. Responding to a journalist’s question on the massacres of the Circassians in 1864, Tan said: “Great tragedies took place in this region. On April 24, for instance, we speak of the Armenian Genocide. It will never be forgotten, and neither will the massacres in the Balkans and Caucasus.” (3)
“Hundreds Commemorate Genocide in Diyarbakir”, this was Gulisor Akkum article on April 26, 2014 in The Armenian Weekly where she wrote “Hundreds attended the commemoration of the Armenian and Assyrian genocides here in Diyarbakir on April 24, including Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality co-mayor Fırat Anlı and former mayor of Sur Municipality Abdullah Demirbaş. The commemoration was jointly organized by the Diyarbakir Bar Association, the Diyarbakir branch of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (HRA), and the Gomidas Institute (GI). At noon, attendees gathered at the Monument of Common Conscience (Ortak Vicdan Anıtı), where pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) parliamentarian Altan Tan, GI’s Ara Sarafian, head of the Diyarbakir Bar Association Tahir Elçi, and HRA Diyarbakir member Raci Bilici delivered speeches. Altan Tan stated that the genocide committed in 1915 against Armenians and Assyrians is a dark blemish on the pages of history. Today, only through understanding one another can we defeat the oppressors, he noted.
The Turkish Majlis simply repeat official and false thesis concerning the Armenian genocide. At the same time the parliament sponsors and spreads the “academic” literature which denies the Genocide. Since 2007 a new element changed the former uniform atmosphere to a certain degree where representatives of the pro Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party started talking loudly about the Armenian genocide. The issue of the Armenian Genocide was rather actively discussed in the Majlis in 2009. After the “Armenologists” Yusuf Halacoglu, Sinan Ogan and Sayit Sertcelik (the only one who speaks Armenian) who deny the Armenian Genocide became deputies, Halacaoglu came forward with an initiative to establish anti-Armenian group, and the speaker of the Majlis Jemil Cicek expressed readiness to help him. (one of the “godfathers” and adherents of the well-known articles 301 of the Criminal Code for what he received “Jemil 301” nickname). The only exclusion was the oppositional Kurdish party – and the group was ready to include Kurd deputies: “if they say the truth”, i.e. if they also deny the Armenian genocide, but they were disappointed. Kurdish Peace and Democracy party deputy Altan Tan turned to the Armenian topic at a conference in Mardin and stated: “The Amenian Genocide took place in 1915. I use word genocide as a political figure and I want it to be fixed”. Later on in his interview to “Agos” in Istanbul, he went more deeply in the issue and proved the unsoundness of that policy grounded on the falsifications carried by the Turkish officials. (4)