Professor Sancar says will dedicate Nobel Prize to Ataturk

Sancar, Sweden’s Tomas Lindahl and American Paul Modrich shared the award in chemistry for work mapping how cells repair damaged DNA. The winners in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics each received a diploma and a medal during the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm.

Speaking to the Hurriyet daily after the ceremony, Sancar said: “I was awarded [the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry] thanks to Ataturk. On May 19, I will visit Anıtkabir and leave this award to Ataturk.”

People across Turkey mark May 19 as the Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day, a day that is celebrated as the beginning of the War of Independence, the day Ataturk landed in Samsun, an act that led to the foundation of the Turkish Republic from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.

Sancar is a cousin of Mardin deputy Mithat Sancar, who represents the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). After studying medicine in İstanbul, Sancar left Turkey for the United States in 1973. He earned his PhD in the field of molecular biology at the University of Texas at Dallas in 1977 and then worked on a research project at Yale University in the field of DNA repair.