By Hambersom Aghbashian
Prof. Mehmet Altan (born January 11, 1953 in Ankara, Turkey) is a Turkish economist and a journalist. Describing himself as a “Marxist-liberal”, he is the originator of the term “Second Republic”, arguing that Turkey needs to reconstitute its republic as a true democracy. He is a strong supporter of the Accession of Turkey to the European Union. Mehmet Altan is the second of two sons of the journalist and writer Çetin Altan. His brother Ahmet Altan is also a very well known journalist and writer. Prof. Altan studied at the Sorbonne University, (1979-1984), where he earned his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in economics. He started working at University of Istanbul, Faculty of Economics in (1986), first as assistant professor, then associate professor (1987) and full professor (1993). From (1987-2006) he contributed to Sabah, before moving to Star, where he became the editor-in-chief. He left Star in January 2012, as he has been dismissed from the paper because of government’s pressures on media. Prof. Mehmet Altan is the author of more than 25 books including “Kanatli Karinca -1985”, “Süperler ve Türkiye-1986”, “Marks’tan Sevgilerle-1989”, “Darbelerin Ekonomisi -1990”, “Ikinci Cumhuriyet’in Yol Hikayes” and many others.
According to Today’s Zaman, September 26, 2014, “A group of academics, journalists, artists and intellectuals have released a statement condemning in the harshest terms what they define as expressions that include ‘open hatred and hostility’ towards Armenians in Turkish schoolbooks, which were recently exposed by the newspapers Agos and Taraf. A letter accompanying the text of the condemnation, written by historian Taner Akçam, notes that including such expressions as lesson material to teach children is a disgrace. The statement said ‘The revolutions history and history textbooks should be collected immediately, with an apology issued to everyone and particularly to Armenian students.” The signees said textbooks in schools should seek to encourage feelings of peace, solidarity and living together over inciting hatred towards different religious and cultural groups. Prof. Mehmet Altan was one of the respected Turkish intellectuals who signed the statement.(1)
On September 11, 2016, news.am wrote: Brothers Ahmed and Mehmet Altan have been arrested on the sidelines of the case regarding the failed coup in Turkey. Ahmet Altan, the former editor-in-chief of the Turkish newspaper Taraf, and professor Mehmet Altan were arrested upon the order of the Istanbul Prosecutor General’s Office prosecutor on the issues of terrorism, Can Tuncay. The court has charged Mehmet Altan with “attempting to remove the government or attempting to obstruct its work,” the official news agency Anadolu reported at the time. Both brothers are active supporters of the Armenian Genocide recognition. They have expressed their position on the issue in various articles.(2)