Poet and writer (b. 22 June 1926, İstanbul). He also used the pen names Hadi Borazan, Hüseyin Erenköy and Hüseyin Zurna. He attended the Galatasaray Lycee (1949), and graduated from Ankara University, Faculty of Law at. He took up journalism when he was a student and continued with this occupation after becoming advocate. He wrote columns in the newspapers Ulus (1947), Halk (1951), Tan, Yeni Gazete (1956-57), Akşam (1958-60, 1965-71), Milliyet (1960-65, 1979), Politika, again Milliyet (1979), Güneş, Hürriyet (1988), Sabah (1992-2001), and once again in Milliyet (2001). He was elected as a deputy for İstanbul in the Workers' Party of Turkey in 1965. He was arrested many times due to his essays. In 1953, he went to Paris on an invitation from NATO; however, due to an article that he wrote on his return, he was sent to jail. He was taken under custody because he had written that the number of the Turkish troops in Korea was fixed in accordance with an agreement with the United States. He was sentenced after the military coup on 12 March 1971, but was forgiven by the president for his health conditions. After being acquitted, he defended liberal ideas in his articles.
Embarking on literature with poems, Altan later focused on writing novels and plays. His poems were published in the reviews Çınaraltı (1943-44), İstanbul (1943-46), and Kaynak (1948-49). In his novels and plays, he dealt with faltering of families and individuals that cannot keep up with social changes. He collected the Orhan Kemal Novel Award in 1973, with his book Büyük Gözaltı (The Great Custody). He received the Turkish Language Association Essay Award in 1978 with his work Bir Yumak İnsan (A Clew of Men), published in the 1970's in the humor magazine Çarşaf under the pen name Hüseyin Zurna. His novel Bir Avuç Gökyüzü (A Handful of Sky), which was translated into some foreign languages, was filmed with the production of Ümit Elçi.
POETRY: Üçüncü Mevki (The Third Class, 1943).
NOVEL: Büyük Gözaltı (The Great Custody, 1972), Bir Avuç Gökyüzü (A Handful of Sky, 1974), Viski (Whisky, 1975), Küçük Bahçe (The Little Garden, 1978).
PLAYS PUBLISHED AND STAGED: Çemberler (The Circles, 1964), Mor Defter (The Purple Notebook, 1965), Suçlular (The Guilty, 1965), Dilekçe ve Tahtirevalli (Petition and Teeterboard, 1966).
UNPUBLISHED PLAY (with years of staging): Beybaba (Grandfather, 1960-61), Yedinci Köpek (The Seventh Dog, 1964), Komisyon (The Commission, 1969), Islıkçı (The Whistler, 1977).
ANECTODE AND ESSAY: Taş (The Stone, 1964), Sömürücüler Savaşı (The War of the Colonialists, 1965), Atatürk'ün Sosyal Görüşleri (Social Views of Atatürk, 1965), Çimento Karaborsasının İçyüzü (The Inside Story of the Cement Black Market, 1966), Hükümet Kapitalist Bir Hükümettir (The Government is a Capitalist Government, 1966), Bornova Savcısı Lütfen Dinleyin (The Attorney of Bornova, Please Listen!, 1966), Onlar Uyanırken (While They are Awakening, 1967), Geçip Giderken (While Passing Out, 1968), Kopuk Kopuk (Broken Off, 1970), Suçlanan Yazılar (The Accused Articles, 1970), Kahrolsun Komünizm Diye Diye (By Saying Down with Communism, 1976), Nar Çekirdekleri (Seeds of Pomegranate, 1976), Zurnada Peşrev Olmaz (No Introductory Melody in Horn, humorous articles 1978), Gölgelerin Gölgesi (Shade of the Shades, 1981), Şeytan Aynaları (The Mirrors of Satan, 1982), 2027 Yılının Anıları (Memories of the Year 2027, 1985), Seçmeler (Selections, 1992), Sobe (I Won the Game!, 1999), Kral Öldü Yaşasın Kral (King Has Dead, Long Live the King, 1999).
RESEARCH: İdam Edilen 44 Vezir-i Azamın Dramı (The Tragedy of the 44 Executed Grand Viziers, 1991), Öldürülmüş Şehzadeler ve Devrilmiş Padişahlar (The Murdered Princes and the Overthrown Sultans, 1991), Aşk Sanat ve Servet (Love, Art and Wealth, 1993), Kullar ve Sultanlar (Slaves and Sultans, 2000).
SHORT STORY: Rıza Bey'in Polisiye Öyküleri (Detective Stories of Rıza Bey, 1985), Kalem Bahçelerinden Yedi Hayat (Seven Lives from the Gardens of Pen, 1997).
MEMOIR: Ben Milletvekili İken (When I was a Deputy, 1971), Bir Yumak İnsan (A Clew of Men, 1977), İyi ki Şu Köyceğiz Var (Thanks We Have Köyceğiz, with an album, 2001).
TRAVEL LITERATURE: Bir Uçtan Bir Uca (From One End to the Other, notes from Israel, Sweden, Iran, Afghanistan and Romania, 1965; the second edition with addition of Al İşte İstanbul-Here You Are, İstanbul, 1970).
LETTER: Dünyada Bırakılmış Mektuplar (The Letters Left in the World, edited by İshak Reyna, 2002).
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE: Alfabe (The Alphabet, 1997).