Samsun, Google and Prophetic Medicine
Sometimes the three most unrelated words can tell you a lot about a country when they are found on the news on the same day.
Samsun is a city of 605,000 people. It has symbolic importance as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk started the offensive against the occupying forces after World War I from Samsun. It was the first step in an epic journey. Therefore, I always thought of it to be a proud city. Furthermore, I thought it was doing well.
However, the reality is not so. The authorities declared on Tuesday, June 24, that half of Samsun’s population receives aid in the form of coal and kitchen supplies. The same authorities said this type of aid system makes people lazy. The district governors of Samsun claimed people do not show any interest to work once they are on the aid system. They say people quit looking for work and show no effort to better themselves. These are claims that would make any person offended to some degree, but it seems that either the district governors don’t know what they are talking about or Samsun and its people have changed a lot over the years, or so I thought.
However after reading about the statements that Minister of Health Mehmet Müezzinoğlu and Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah İşler made during the Prophetic Medicine Conference, I thought maybe the public at large is not to blame. Many things are changing in Turkey. The outlook on science, technology, medicine and women’s rights are all changing. Prophetic Medicine specifically refers to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad’s actions and words (hadith), with regards to sickness, treatment, hygiene, and the genre of writings undertaken primarily by non-physician scholars to collect and explicate these traditions. It is distinct from Islamic medicine, in that the latter is a broader category encompassing a variety of medical practices rooted in Greek natural philosophy. Müezzinoğlu said he is very happy about the fact that one of the founding pillars of Islam is being rebuilt after 150 years. İşler said Prophetic Medicine is not only selling roots, it is much more important than that. He suggested there should be institutes for Prophetic Medicine, as well as Master’s and Doctorate degrees on the subject.
While we are advancing medicine with Islam, on the other side of the world, Google is preparing to launch Google Fit. It is a service that will gather health and fitness data from all of the popular applications. It will enable mankind to track worldwide health and see which treatments are better than the others on a global scale. Can you imagine that?
I am afraid that Turkey is really falling behind on many fronts. When politicians begin to intervene with everything with the sole purpose of earning more votes, and if we cannot keep them in check, then we are doomed to fail as a country.
Yes, Turkish people still earn money and we are still a very good market for any type of business. But what we can produce? How can Turkey be involved with the global ICT and science communities? Is handing out supplies for votes and not do anything for unemployment or suggesting opening up Islamic Doctorate programs at medicine faculties, while other countries with their innovative companies are changing medicine as we know it, really the best Turkey can do?