|Ahmet Altan speaking at ALMA, Watertown, MA, January 28, 2012|
Speaking to several hundred (Armenians and Turks) in Watertown, Massachusetts, Ahmet Altan, editor-in-chief of Taraf, journalist and novelist, with 100+ court cases against him in Turkey, spoke to his audience in a calm and gentle voice.
"We are here because we are friends and because we share something. I don't see myself as a Turk although I'm a Turk. Don't make me feel as a Turk. I am here as an old man who cried for Hrant Dink. . . Hrant Dink's death has changed a lot in Turkey. . . Turks have a heart and a conscience. Yes, they have hearts . . . I know you won't believe that . . . Not accepting pain is another pain. . . . If you talk to their brains, you will not touch them. They don't know about 1915. They became aware only after Hrant Dink's death . . . I hope Turks will accept and apologize . . . My father always told me, 'Write what you say; say what you write.' [Ahmet Altan's father was the notable Turkish journalist Cetin Altan.] . . . We need your help to change If we confess the great sin, we'll become better people. . . They do not know . . . they want to protect their bloody ancestors. Write your stories, we will publish. I will help you. I want the Turks to feel what you feel. I am ready. My newspaper is ready. . . Let us be human beings instead of Armenians and Turks. Forget the state. Go to the people. When they understand, they will force the state [Turkey] to change."