Türkân Saylan

Aktivist, Tıp Bilgini

13 Aralık, 1935
18 Mayıs, 2009
Istanbul University Medical Faculty

Medical scientist, activist (December 13th, 1935, Istanbul – May 18th, 2009, Istanbul). Türkân Saylan was the oldest child of Fasil Galip Bey, who was one of the first contractors of the Republican era, and Swiss Lili Mina Raiman (who took the name of Leyla after marrying) who had five children. She studied in Kandilli Primary School (1944-46) and Kandilli Kız High School (1946-53). She completed Istanbul University Medical Faculty (1963). She specialized in dermatological and venereal diseases at Social Insurance Institution’s Nişantaşı Hospital (1964-68). She started working as a chief intern at İÜ Istanbul Medical Faculty, Department of Dermatology (1968). In 1971, she took further education in England with the scholarship of the British Cultural Committee. She did short-term studies in France in 1974 and in England in 1976. She became an associate professor in 1972 and professor in 1977. She got married in 1957 and had two sons from this marriage. She had two grandchildren from her sons, who were a graphic designer and a physician.

Türkan Saylan started her studies on leprosy in 1976. She established the Anti-Leprosy Association and Foundation. She worked as the Head of Department of Dermatology at İÜ Medical Faculty in 1982-87 and worked as the Manager of Medical Faculty Center for Research and Training in Leprosy between 1981 and 2001. She participated in the establishment of İÜ Research and Training Center on Women’s Issues that was formed in 1990. She worked there as the assistant manager and coordinated women’s health courses until 1996. Until the end of year 2002 she worked there as a faculty member of the Dermatology Clinic and then retired.

Prof. Saylan gave consultations to World Health Organization about the leprosy disease until 2006. She became the charter member and associate manager of International Leprosy Union (ILU). She was a member of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology and International Leprosy Association. She participated in the establishment of Dermatology Laboratory and in the establishment of polyclinics of Behçet’s Disease and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. For 21 years between 1981 and 2002, she worked voluntarily as the Chief Physician in Istanbul Leprosy Hospital of the Ministry of Health.

She was one of the founders of the Association for Supporting Contemporary Life (ÇYDD), which was established by a group of Atatürkist intellectuals in 1989 to protect and develop the law of revolution and secular regime and to educate girls, and she worked as the President of this association until she died. Besides, she served as the organizer of “the Republican Meetings” that were organized in Ankara-Tandoğan on April 14th, 2007 and in Istanbul-Çağlayan on April 29th, 2007. She also served in various non-governmental organizations apart from ÇYDD, and established ‘Faculty Members’ Association’ that was founded in 1990 and served as the Vice President during the first period. When she died she was the founding president of Kandilli Kız High School Culture and Education Foundation (KANKEV) and TÜRKÇAĞ. She was selected as a member of the Advisory Board of Social Services by the President of the Republic Süleyman Demirel on March 31st, 2000. Again by the President of the Republic Ahmet Necdet Sezer, she was appointed as a member of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) (2001-07). Between 2003 and 2004, she served as a member of the Human Rights Advisory Board of the Prime Ministry and Istanbul City Council of Human Rights. Prof. Dr. Türkan Saylan received many awards during her life.

When her death was near, she was arrested within the scope of “Ergenekon Case” by a specially authorized prosecution of Istanbul but she was released due to her disease that worsened. Saylan, who was a cancer patient for the last ten years of her life and who had been receiving treatment, died on May 18th, 2009. When she died she was working at voluntary agencies as the President of ÇYDD, as the President of Kandilli Kız High School Culture and Education Foundation (KANKEV), as the President of TÜRKÇAĞ Foundation and as the President of Anti-Leprosy Association and Foundation. Prof. Dr. Türkan Saylan was a scientist that was known for her studies on anti-leprosy and education that serves as a model to the world. Based on the book “Türkân, Tek ve Tek Başına” of Ayşe Kulin, and based on the scenario that was put down on paper by Oya Yüce and Ayça Mutlugil, TV series of her life story was produced with the name “Türkan” and then it was also filmed, thus her life story was turned into screenplay by broadcasted on May 18th, 2011, on her death anniversary…

As of the year 2005, Prof. Türkan Saylan had 440 publications. 50 of these publications were medical researches that were published in foreign journals, 204 of these publications were newspaper articles with medical, social and political context, 186 of these publications were researches, collected works and case reports that were published in Turkish medical journals and congress books. 2 of them were books, 3 of them were seminar books and 1 of them was a course book.

MAIN WORKS: At Kız (Childhood memories, 2000), Güneş Umuttan Şimdi Doğar (with Mehmet Zaman Saçlığoğlu, 2004), Geçmişten Geleceğe (Radio interviews, 2006), Cumhuriyet’in Bireyi Olmak I (Articles, 2009), Cumhuriyet’in Bireyi Olmak II (Articles, 2009). 



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