Serving as doctor in Mardin better than receiving Nobel, says Sancar

Serving as doctor in Mardin better than receiving Nobel, says Sancar

Serving as doctor in Mardin better than receiving Nobel, says Sancar

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Speaking at a commencement ceremony at Istanbul University, Nobel laureate Aziz Sancar has said that serving as a doctor in Turkey’s southeastern province of Mardin is better than being awarded with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. 

“Receiving Nobel is a good thing. But working as a doctor in Savur in Mardin would be a better thing,” said Sancar, referring to his hometown.

His remarks came during the graduation ceremony of Istanbul University’s Medical School, from which he graduated 45 years ago. The Nobel laureate is currently in Turkey, where he has made a number of official and unofficial visits. 

“Coming back to my university and my medical school is very emotional for me. I’m an emotional person and all of us love our country. I love it too. You cannot hear our İstkilal Marşı [Turkey’s national anthem] very much in the United States. But whenever I hear the İstiklal Marşı and see our flag, I feel my eyes moistening,” Sancar added. 

“I visited injured soldiers at the GATA hospital last week. One of them was wounded heavily in his chin. The hand of another was damaged. Now whenever I hear the national anthem I think of them. We can serve as medics, scientists, or workers. But the sacrifices they make are special and should be appreciated. We should always show our gratitude to them,” said Sancar. 

He also spoke about one of his early professors, Muzaffer Aksu, who first encouraged him to go to the U.S. 
“He was a professor who I loved very much. He has a special place in Turkish medical history. He was a professor of mine and encouraged me to go to the U.S,” he said. 

“If you want to earn respect from others you should first learn to respect yourself. You should be confident. I’ve had Turkish and American friends who say ‘I’m from Harvard University’ or ‘I’m from Yale University.’ But I say ‘I’m from the Istanbul University Medical School,’ which really is a privilege,” said Sancar.

During the ceremony, Sancar presented a diploma to the school’s top student, Dr. Gülsüm Başak Saygan, and he also presented one of the three replicas of his award to his alma mater.   

“A single Nobel medal is given to winners. But those who receive a Nobel Prize can also get three replicas. I decided with my wife to get all three replicas in order to pay our duty of loyalty. I gave one of them to the university in the U.S. that supported my research and today I’ve presented one to the Istanbul Medical School, which raised me and taught me science. The third replica will go to the Mardin Artuklu University. In this way, I will be able to pay my duty of loyalty to a certain extent,” stated Sancar.