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Turkish doctor reunites with his Bosniak patient after 27 years

Mustafa Can Kosay performed surgery on Emsada Cago in final years of Bosnian War

Ahmet Nurduhan   | 15.06.2022
Turkish doctor reunites with his Bosniak patient after 27 years Turkish Doctor Mustafa Can Kosay (L), who came to Bosnia and Herzegovina as a third lieutenant at the end of the Bosnian War, meets 27 years later with his patient Emsada Cago (R), whom he operated on in those years in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 09, 2022. ( Denis Zuberi - Anadolu Agency )


Turkish doctor Mustafa Can Kosay, who performed surgery on Emsada Cago in the final years of the Bosnian War, were recently reunited after 27 years.

It was 1995 and Cago was a 2-year-old girl with deformities in her feet, while Kosay was a young ensign with a Turkish unit deployed in the Balkan country.

He served one year with a Turkish peacekeeping unit deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a medical officer, treating both Turkish troops and locals.

Kosay got an opportunity to meet Cago on his recent visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina. They met on June 9 in Zenica, some 70 kilometers (43 miles) from Sarajevo, where Cago now lives.

"She had deformities in her feet, and was not treated very well. I took her to a local hospital and performed surgery," he told Anadolu Agency.

Years later, Cago reached out to the doctor through social media and they started corresponding, deciding to meet again.

"Now, she is a mother of two children. As a doctor, I am always happy to see my recovered patients, but meeting a patient after 27 years was a difference experience altogether," he said.

During the meeting, Cago also gave him an album of pictures taken before and after the surgery.

Cago said that during the war, Turkish doctors were their only hope.

"Because of war, we had limited health care and little means for my treatment. Someone recommended us to see doctors at the Turkish garrison. There, we met Dr. Kosay and Ayse (now a retired colonel), who supported us in every way. He and other soldiers became our friends, our new family, at a time when we had few friends,” she said.

Cago said she had undergone several surgeries, but to no avail. But when Kosay operated on her, she regained her ability to walk again. "What I felt after recovery cannot be described ... very emotional moments," she said.

Kosay later returned to Türkiye after completing his military service, and they lost contact.

Cago's older sister is married to a Turkish national. When he heard this story, he wanted to help find Dr. Kosay. They first contacted the colonel who gave them Kosay’s phone number and finally, they managed to arrange a meeting in Zenica.

"This is something you cannot buy,” she said. “I always tell my children to be good towards others because no matter how many years pass, time does not erase the good deeds you did."

The Bosnian War began on March 1, 1992 and lasted until Dec. 14, 1995. More than 100,000 people lost their lives, while around 2 million were uprooted from their homes.

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