Şerefnur Öztürk


Year 2023, February 6th... When we woke up on the morning of February 6, we did not know what day we woke up to, nor did we know that thousands of our people did not have chance to wake up. As the day got brighter, our hearts, brains and hopes began to darken. We did not yet know what we had lost in that darkness, we did not know how we lost those beautiful people, from all ages, from all professions. Every loss destroyed us deeply, we thought desperately about what we could do, and when every living thing was saved, we were saved too. The terrible earthquake, which took place in 11 provinces in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of our country and hit the region again with almost the same intensity in 9 hours, currently left behind 50 thousand 300 deaths and more than 100 thousand of injured and an almost uninhabitable region. There was also a major destruction and loss in our neighbor Syria. Then we started to get the sad news… Two of our colleagues, who were fascinated by Neurology and had not yet completed their journey in the mysteries of the brain, were in the prime of their lives, the others were our colleagues who presented their specialist skills to science and the public. Even though the physicians lost 94 of their colleagues in this disaster, they were at the forefront of rescue efforts.

Every life, every profession, every effort of which goal is human is very valuable. How a doctor grows up is best known by us, and by our families and teachers, who sleep and wake up with us, sometimes join our memorizings, watch our way while we are on night shift, and receive the most beautiful gift at our graduation having their eyes shining with hope and pride. We, who turn to neurology, are also ready for difficulties, also hopeful and also determined to set out on the road. We know that there are as many roads as there are people in the world. While each of us is drawing our own path, we try to be ready not only for the goal we will reach at the end of the road, but also for every situation that awaits us on our way. But this time, it was those earthquakes that were beyond our power, that we did not expect and that we assumed as if they would never happen. We could not escape and protect ourselves from this earthquake, which will be known as the Syria-Türkiye earthquake. While our most important strategy was prevention while we gave health care to our patients, we could not protect ourselves. The preventable deaths could not be prevented and we learned that we lost five valuable colleagues.

Dr. Eda Kahinoğulları Aşkar was a third year Neurology resident. She had tried to be helpful to hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who had stood in her way. Dr. Bircan Turunç was a young and hopeful colleague who just started swimming in the sea of Neurology. They were Neurology residents at Mustafa Kemal University Tayfur Ata Sökmen Medical Faculty in Hatay. Murat Güntel, one of our young faculty members in the Department of Neurology at the same faculty, devoted himself not only to scientific efforts but also to providing the best Neurology service in the field of Neurology, where he lived his whole life and dreams. His passion for reading was known to everyone and he always shared what he read with people surrounding and enriched his environment. Dr. Bessam Ezelsoy, on the other hand, was working at the Training and Research Hospital, which was also an important health center in Hatay, with all his effort, kindness and hopeful, compassionate style. Our colleague, who was also deemed worthy of the doctor of the year award in Hatay, was a staunch Fenerbahçe fan. Our dear colleague Dr. Tülay Yücel, on the other hand, would finally be able to devote time to herself, her family, and her dreams, after many years of hard work in the field of Neurology.

All physicians are like stars with their lights, hopes and efforts. They are always together in life’s difficulties. All the neurologists we have lost are stars right above us and will always be there.

We will not forget you.

Prof. Şerefnur Öztürk MD,
Editor in Chief of Turkish Journal of Neurology