Doğan Akhanlı (born 1957 in Şavşat) is a Turkish-German writer. Since the 1990s he has lived in Cologne.

Doğan Akhanlı
Doğan Akhanlı (2017)
Doğan Akhanlı (2017)
Şavşat, Artvin Province, Turkey
OccupationNovelist, essayist

His work centers around the major genocides of the 20th century, the systematic extermination of the Armenians and the Jews. Critics also praise him for his storytelling and his engagement in human rights work. In general they praise him for his engagement and in particular they praise him for his work with Turkish dissidents. His political point of view has led to several arrests.


Akhanlı was born in Şavşat in the Artvin Province located in the Northeast of Turkey. He grew up in this small village. Age 12 he moved to live with his older brother in Istanbul and to continue education. He was arrested for a brief period in 1975 because he bought a left-wing paper. This incident led to his political interest and engagement. After the coup d'état in 1980 he went underground. From 1985 to 1987 he was imprisoned for political reasons in a military jail in Istanbiul. Akhanlı was tortured there. In 1991 he fled to Germany and requested asylum. Since the mid 1990s he lives in Cologne as a writer of political prose and essays. In 1998 the Turkish authorities stripped him of his citizenship. Three years later he became a German citizen.

Akhanli is a collaborator of the association "recherche international", which furthers the investigation of the Armenian Genocide, committed in the first quarter of the 20th century. He has repeatedly raised his voice to debate the crimes against the Armenians. He also initiated the foundation of the Raphael Lemkin Library, located in Cologne, named after the man, he first described the atrocities against the Armenians as genocide.

On 10 August 2010, Doğan Akhanlı was arrested on entry into Turkey and was kept in investigative detention due to an alleged participation in a 1989 robbery incident. In December 2010 he was released. The trial continued in 2011 in his absence. Akhanlı denied any involvement in the crime and denounced the accusation as politically motivated and constructed. On 12 October 2011, Akhanlı was acquitted "for lack of evidence". Two witnesses had withdrawn their accusations, stating that they were forced by police to name Akhanlı. Thereafter the Turkish authorities imposed an entry ban on the writer which was heavily criticized by German politician Cem Özdemir. In April 2013, the acquittal was lifted and an international arrest warrant was issued.[1][2][3][4][5]

On 19 August 2017, the Spanish police arrested Akhanlı in Granada at the request of Turkish authorities.[6] After an intervention of German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel he was set free, but he is not allowed to leave Madrid until the court has decided about the Turkish extradition request. The ruling is expected within the next forty days.[7] On 20 August 2017 German chancellor Angela Merkel sharply criticized the Turkish government because of abusing the international institution Interpol.[8]


Akhanlı has consistently displayed a very direct and open approach to historical violence, defending the universality of human rights and searching for the cause of the violence of the masses. His commitment in literature and political statements centers around the genocides of the 20th century, the Armenian genocide and the Shoah. His literature promotes cross-cultural dialogue and combines it with a call to reconciliation.

He is a member of the PEN Centre Germany and has repeatedly spoken out in favor of imprisoned Turkish writers such as Aslı Erdoğan.


I write in Turkish, but I live in Germany. This is a difficult situation because I am not part of German literature, I am part of Turkish literature.

— Doğan Akhanlı

Books (selection)Edit

  • 1998/99: Trilogoy "Kayıp Denizler" (The Seas That Disappeared).
    • I. "Denizi Beklerken" (Waiting for the Sea) ISBN 9789753441780, OCLC 925970717
    • II. "Gelincik Tarlası" (The Poppy Field)
    • III. "Kıyamet Günü Yargıçları" (Judges of Last Judgement)
  • 2005 "Madonna'nın Son Hayali" ("Madonna's Last Dream"). ISBN 9786059976008, OCLC 962737393
  • 2009 "Babasız günler" ("Days without Father"). ISBN 9786054069453, OCLC 837054416
  • 2010 "Fasıl". ISBN 9789755452586, OCLC 733778136



  1. ^ Jürgen Gottschlich (26 August 2010). "Dürftige Indizien". die tageszeitung. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  2. ^ Martin Rosenbach (15 September 2010). "Opfer der türkischen Justiz". 3sat. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  3. ^ "Gerechtigkeit für Doğan Akhanlı". 22 October 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Prozess gegen deutsch-türkischen Autor: Akhanli wird aus Untersuchungshaft entlassen". 8 December 2010. Archived from the original on 10 December 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  5. ^ "Kampf gegen Völkermord". 17 December 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Erdogan critic Dogan Akhanli arrested in Spain". BBC. 19 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Schriftsteller Doğan Akhanlı auf freiem Fuß". Süddeutsche Zeitung. 20 August 2017. Archived from the original on 20 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Merkel wirft Türkei Missbrauch von Interpol vor". Die Zeit. 20 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2017.

External linksEdit