Some people are born to fight till the end. Even though that fight does not have any immediate rewards, their commitment for a better world make their efforts more than worthwhile.
Prof. Türken Saylan was such a person. In a country where no good deed goes unpunished, she worked all her life as a woman, to get rid of lepers and prejudices against women in Turkey where Muslim prejudices agaşnst them thrive in everyday life.
She was a doctor of medicine, but she was also a “doctor for social diseases”. When you leave the coastal sections and go down into the countryside in Turkey, education rate for the girls is below any of its counterparts in Europe. She has started a non-profit called “The Association to support Contemporary Living” to fund the educational needs of girls who were abandoned by their parents or who were unable to fund for their education. The Association is fairly successful since it helps over 30,000 kids as of 2009. Bu the name itself explains the level of controversies in the daily life of modern Turkey. The term ‘contemporary lifestyle’ refers to the current living practices in a given society. However the founding members of the mentioned Association perceived that the current conditions within Turkey were so much in contradiction with its counterparts in the western hemisphere that “contemporary lifestyle” was something to be fought for and desired for. They have started that fight with the educational rights of young girls everywhere in Turkey, aptly named as “snowdrops”.
Naturally she was attacked by the status quo verbally and physically. Five weeks before her death (she was suffering from a form of cancer) her house was ransacked by police forces and only her health condition saved her from jail and all other directors of the Association were taken into custody for allegedly doing deeds against the state! Not to mention all verbal abuses by the Islamic press brandishing the fact that her mother was of Swiss origin and she was an atheist and a missionary at the same time. They have even openly enjoyed her death in the name of religion.
Just because of these ridiculous accusations (and in reality all of her contributions to the society) she died a martyr. Her public persona refused any relationship with any undemocratic force prevailing in the society. She denied her support to any gathering of ideas that were against human rights. She died a human being who contributed endlessly to humanity. We cherish her altruistic virtues, may She rest in peace.