ANKARA (AA) – Professor Aziz Sancar, the Turkish-American academic who won 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, delivered his medal and certificate to the mausoleum of Ataturk -- modern Turkey’s founder -- on Thursday.
The presentation was made on May 19, a national holiday celebrated in Turkey as Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was present at the ceremony, said he sees the exhibition of the medal at the mausoleum “as a signal flare devoted to the future of our youth”.
Erdogan also said he believes this would determine roadmap to earning further Nobel prizes.
Sancar said he “paid the debt of gratitude to Ataturk and Ataturk’s fellow fighters who established the Republic of Turkey”.
“I thank God for giving me this opportunity,” he said.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Chief of Turkey’s General Staff Hulusi Akar also participated in the ceremony in Ankara.
Originally from the southeastern province of Mardin, Sancar was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in mapping cells that repaired ultraviolet damage to DNA.
Sancar choose May 19 to deliver the medal, a day which marks the beginning of Turkey’s War of Independence, and the emergence of modern Turkey.
May 19, 1919, was the day Mustafa Kemal, later to become Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, arrived in the Black Sea city of Samsun from Istanbul to organize the war that saw the remnants of the Ottoman Empire transformed into modern Turkey four years later.