Turkish poet, novelist, essayist, journalist and leftist activist. He remained a vigilant activist for kemalism and socialism, and faced constant persecution for his writings and beliefs.
At age 16, he was studying at İzmir Atatürk High School when he sent a girl he had a crush on a poem by Nazim Hikmet, a dissident communist Turkish poet. For this, he was arrested and jailed for three months, and forbidden from attending school.
Throughout the 50's and 60's, he constantly travelled along an İstanbul-Paris-İzmir triangle, but after his father's death, he remained in İzmir for eight years, serving as the editorial writer and editor-in-chief of the Democratic İzmir newspaper.
His father, Muharrem Bedrettin İlhan, worked as a public prosecutor and governor, and his younger brother became famous Turkish actor Çolpan İlhan.
He was married to Biket İlhan from 1968 to 1983.