Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More from Ahmet Altan, Editor of Turkish Liberal Newspaper TARAF, on Armenian-Turkish Relations

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."