Nobel Prize winner Aziz Sancar pledges to do his utmost for development of science in whole Turkic world - INTERVIEW

Nobel Prize winner Aziz Sancar pledges to do his utmost for development of science in whole Turkic world - <span style="color: red;">INTERVIEW
# 26 May 2016 10:11 (UTC +04:00)

Q. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on behalf of our agency and the people of Azerbaijan. You have pleased us. One of the reasons for our joy is that you dedicated your Nobel Prize to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the savior of these lands and founder of the Republic of Turkey. What would you say about it?


A. Thank you for your congratulations. The Azerbaijani people and president always say that Turkey and Azerbaijan are “one nation, two states”. Azerbaijanis have a special place in our hearts. We are one nation. So when I received the Nobel Prize, the Azerbaijanis have shown great interest in this. Two women came and interviewed me midnight, but I don’t know if they published it. But it was really nice for me. There were those who brought their children with them to congratulate me. I would like to thank all of them. I was really affected by the Azerbaijanis’ attention towards me.


Q. You always remember Atatürk and dedicated your prize to him. However, religious tendencies prevail in today’s elementary and high school education of Turkey. As if there is a movement back in education. Will Turkey be able to move forward in science with such education?  


A. I don’t know much about Imam Hatip schools (school offering religious training in Turkey). However, I heard from university teachers and scientists that the level of studies is high. There are still challenges in terms of basic sciences. 


Q. Would you issue further statements about the education system or make political statements? Would we hear earth-shattering statements from you like other Nobel laureates?


A. Political statements are made by politicians. I can be very useful for Turkey and the Turkic world as a scientist. We haven’t been engaged in science for 500 years and achieved no development. Thus, it is our duty before humanity. I want to continue working and be a model in this field. It is difficult to deal with social and political issues. In particular, Nobel winners make this mistake. They are expressing opinion on every issue. I don’t want to be like them. For example, you asked about Imam Hatip schools a while ago, and I didn’t comment on it as I have no so much information in this regard. I wouldn’t interfere in political issues. I will do my utmost for the development of education in Turkey and the wholeTurkic world. I will pay visits to Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.


Q. When are you going to visit these countries?   


A. I don’t know, but I will. I want to see these countries. I think we have duties before these countries.


Q. Do you accept individual requests for studentship from Turkic republics?


A. Of course, I do. I accepted one student from Turkmenistan, who defended dissertation and returned home. He is now the director of an institute there. My point is, I may accept others too.


Q. Your Nobel award triggered such excitement throughout Turkey that the Turk who had received it before you was left in loneliness, while everyone gave you a hug. You became a model for Turkic youth. What would you say about it?


A. I met Orhan Pamuk there and congratulated him on the publishing of his latest book. The Nobel Peace Prize or the Literature Prize is an individual prize, which is presented to a person for a work created with individual skills. But the main reason behind that I received the Nobel Prize on science is the revolutionary changes in the republic. Had it not been for them (the changes), I would not have received [the prize]. From this point of view, there is one more issue, which is that I got this prize as a result of the scientific contributions made by the republican revolutions in Turkey. It’s very important to improve scientific infrastructure. In these terms, there is a difference between my prize and the one that writers are given.


Q. In the case of a proposal from the Turkish world, would you accept proposals on opening Prof. Aziz Sancar centers?


A. I need to think about it, because there are two centers named after me in Turkey—in Ankara and Istanbul. I have been given a large office in the Ankara center, everything is ready, and a museum has been opened too. They tell me that they want to have my works there. I will have to ponder this matter once I have returned from the US. Otherwise, I do not need new centers to be opened and named after me in Azerbaijan or any other Turkic country unless I can go there and do my work. So I need to think about it. As you mentioned, I have a high sense of Turkism and I will try my best to make some contributions.


I thank you on behalf of our agency for attending to us despite your heavy work loads. See you soon…


A. It was a pleasure meeting you. Through you I am sending my greetings and love to Azerbaijan.



Important Note: Prof. Aziz Sancar Mr Orhan Bursali, columnist of the “Cumhuriyet” newspaper and author of the book “Aziz Sancar ve Nobelin öyküsü”, for helping us meet with Prof. Aziz Sancar.