Veteran Turkish journalist, author Çetin Altan dies at 88
ISTANBULÇetin Altan, a prominent figure in the Turkish journalism history, died on Oct. 22 of pneumonia-driven respiratory failure and septic shock. He was 88.
Altan had been hospitalized in June and was later discharged. However, he was hospitalized at Fatih University hospital in the Maltepe district of Istanbul as his condition worsened.
Turkish press institutions expressed their sadness over the death of Altan, sending their condolences.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ also issued a letter of condolence over Altan’s passing.
Born on June 22, 1927 in Istanbul, Altan studied law at Ankara University. He first stepped into literary world between 1943 and 1945 by writing poems published in Istanbul and Yeni Adam magazines.
He began journalism career in 1946 as a reporter for the Ulus newspaper. He later wrote columns for several newspapers including Milliyet, Hürriyet, Sabah and Güneş. In his later years, he was a columnist for daily Milliyet. He was also one of the most prolific columnists in the world.
In 1965, he entered the political scene as a deputy from Turkey’s Labor Party for four years. He was also the first deputy whose immunity was lifted and given back later.
Altan was arrested and interrogated by the 1st army commander of the time in 1971 on grounds of being a member of the Devrim (Revolution) newspaper, which supported the March 9 coup attempt.
Altan was the author of four novels among which his first brought him the 1973 Orhan Kemal Award. He also wrote numerous dramas, most of which were staged.
Meanwhile, over 300 lawsuits were filed against him in criminal court over his 50-year career for his writings.
He was detained for 15 days in 1972 despite a supposed detention period for 24 hours. He was arrested three times and sentenced two times. He also served time for two years.
Altan was the father of three: the popular journalist and author Ahmet Altan, academic Mehmet Altan and Zeynep Balkan.