Jailed Turkish Novelist Working On Armenian Genocide Book

By Asbarez | Monday, 10 September 2018

Ahmet Altan

Turkish novelist Ahmet Altan, who was jailed last February and sentenced to life imprisonment for his alleged involvement in a 2016 coup attempt, is working on the untitled final volume of his Ottoman Quartet series, Publisher Weekly reports.

The final volume of the Ottoman Quartet is set in 1915 and “tells the tales of the Battle of Gallipoli and the Armenian Genocide.”

The Ottoman Quartet, launched in 1998 with the publication of Like a Sword Wound, was always intended to be a longterm project. “I planned this as a tetralogy to show the cultural diversification and inner conflicts within a family as the years passed, while at the same time telling the story of the step-by-step collapse of an empire. Such novels take time to write, because one needs to do serious historical research.”

Altan is already well-known for his public statements about the genocide, a subject so taboo in Turkey that anyone who mentions it risks jail for “insulting Turkishness.”

“I think the best narration of the dark and bloody face of history is found in literature,” he said. “Literature doesn’t only give us the historical truth, it also enables us to form emotional linkage to what happened in history, it enables us to carry inside the marks of the events of the past. The mental tremor one feels while reading the feelings of a woman watching her child being killed is more profound than one’s reaction to the factual statement that ‘one million people were killed.’ The former helps you much better appreciate the truth of it all.”

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