Was editor in chief of Taraf (viewpoint), a Turkish investigative and liberal daily. Now, he is once again working as a successful author.
"You have to be crazy if you want to do something like this", said Ahmet Altan about his work. Until 2012, he has been editor in chief of Taraf (Point of View), a Turkish newspaper founded in 2007 that caused quite a few sensations in Turkey with its revelations. Altan started his career as a journalist and columnist for renowned newspapers such as Hürriyet or Milliyet, but repeatedly came into conflict with the Turkish state. He was sacked by Milliyet due to some journalistic work in which he fictionally laid out a picture of Kurdey, a state populated by a majority of Curds. He was banned and wrote novels. It was only with Taraf that he was able to return to his work as a journalist. In September 2008, he wrote an article about the genocide of Armenians and got prosecuted for dividing the Turkish nation. Regardless, Taraf continued making enemies within the Turkish government and the military, with an article, for instance, that focussed on a PKK attack which resulted in the death of 17 soldiers of the Turkish army. Taraf claimed, the Turkish army knew about this attack beforehand but did not introduce any measures against it. Taraf doesn't get any advertisements, is sued regularly by the authorities and, therefore, suffers from serious economic problems. Foreign correspondents in Turkey consider Taraf as being idealistic and uncompromising.
In 2016, Ahmet Altan and his brother Mehmet Altan were imprisoned after the failed coup d'etat against President Erdogan and were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2018. It was not until April 2021, that Altan was released unexpectedly after a Turkish court of appeal overturned the original judgment for supporting terrorism as "unfounded". During his detention Altan received the German Geschwister-Scholl-Preis 2019. At the end of October 2021, Ahmet Altan was awarded the French Prix Femina in the "Foreign Novel" category for his novel Madame Hayat. Altan had written the novel while in prison.