Memory of Sadi Irmak, M.D., Distinguished Professor, a scientist borne out of a two-line telegram.
“When I was a student at Istanbul University, I saw a sign on the school wall: “Students sought to be sent to Europe.” “What is this supposed to be,” I said to myself. At a time when the country was in ruins, everywhere was devastated and the Treaty of Lausanne had just been signed, sending a student to Europe… That was something of a luxury. Nevertheless, I wanted to take my chances. There were 11 of us selected from a total of 150. Atatürk wrote “Send to the University of Berlin” next to my name. It’s time. Hesitant and stressed, I’m at the Sirkeci Train Station. Should I stay or should I go? Would they forget about me there? Would they send money? Just as I had decided to stay and started to turn back, I heard a postman call my name. “Mahmut Sadi! Mahmut Sadi! Telegram for you.” “That’s me,” I said. I tore it open, this is exactly what it said “I am sending you as sparks, you must return as fire balls,” Mustafa Kemal. I was incredibly ashamed for what I had been thinking. “How would I not go, work hard, and come back to give my life for this country,” I thought. “Think about it! It is 1923 and there is a leader with so much on his plate. But he still finds the time to understand where these 11 students are, to sense their state of mind and send those telegraphs. How would anyone not give their lives for this country?” I was very successful. I came back to my country as a flame. I first founded The Institute of General and Human Physiology at Istanbul University. I became The Chairman. I then served as Prime Minister of my country. Who am I? I am just a scientist born out of a two-line telegram. Sadi Irmak, M.D., Distinguished Professor.”