Akcam had his own run-ins with the Turkish government in the 1970s. He was jailed for printing Marxist articles and eventually escaped from a primitive prison converted from an old stable, he said. Turkish authorities confirmed his arrest and escape, and said he was linked to a pro-Soviet revolutionary group.
Akcam said he was allowed to return to Turkey, and did so briefly, but realized that the government would obstruct his research. He relied mostly on German and American records of the massacres, he said, because the Turks purged most references to the atrocities from their archives.