Melih Ziya Sezer, the owner of one of the oldest pharmacies in Istanbul's Moda, died at 90. Upon his death, it was revealed that the 120-year-old pharmacy that stood the test of time since the Ottoman period would become a museum.
Sezer, who has been healing people for years in the pharmacy, inheriting his father's legacy, previously stated that pharmaceutics is a form of art rather than a sole trade activity.
The display window of the historical pharmacy was filled with post-its that included "Goodbye Melih Abi" inscriptions.
Pharmacist Melih Ziya Sezer has been in the profession for more than 70 years. He was the owner of one of the oldest pharmacies in Istanbul, with its 1902 establishment date in the quaint neighborhood of Kadıköy's Moda. Unfortunately, due to his ongoing health problems, Sezer had to close his pharmacy in March after devoting his life. He died last Wednesday due to congestive heart failure.
After the death of Sezer, one of the former presidents of the Istanbul Chamber of Pharmacists, the fate of "Yeni Moda Pharmacy" became a matter of curiosity. Expressing his grief due to the death of his father, Marmara University Faculty of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Lecturer Dr. Ali Demir Sezer said that the pharmacy will be turned into a museum.
Furniture maker Selahattin Yılmaz, a tradesperson, working in the next store of Sezer's pharmacy said: "He was my friend for 57 years, he was more like a brother. We have been neighbors since 1965, together for all these years. We didn't even say 'humph' once to each other. You can't consider Melih Bey just as a pharmacist, he was a real scientist."
"The medicine he made was usually 100% effective. He once prepared a medicine for me. I had calluses on my feet due to the boots I wore during my military service in 1963. Ten years ago, I said, 'Melih, I have a lot of trouble with my feet. What should I do?'. He then checked my feet and gave me the medicine in the evening. I applied that medicine twice a day. Then my problems began to fade. There has been no problem on my feet for 10 years," he added.
"I think this place should be a museum, the disappearance of such an effort would be suicide. Production is very important. A 90-year-old person was producing medicine in the laboratory until the evening," he said, highlighting how Sezer was dedicated to his occupation despite his age.
During an interview with Demirören News Agency (DHA) last year, Sezer described the history of the pharmacy: "Faik İskender Bey first established it under the name of Eczane-i Saadet (Pharmacy of Bliss) in another quarter of Kadıköy. As per the Restriction Law enacted in 1928, one of the two pharmacies had to be closed and its name was changed to Moda Pharmacy."
When he took over the pharmacy in Moda, all of its interior, from cabinets to other materials, were moved to the new pharmacy, which was purchased in by Melih Ziya Sezer’s father. Since 1950, Melih Ziya Sezer has run the pharmacy.
"When Faik İskender Bey passed away in 1936, Moda Pharmacy was put up for sale and my father bought this pharmacy. My father, Halil Nejat Sezer, graduated from Istanbul University in 1925. He established his first pharmacy in his hometown, Birecik, Urfa." Sezer stated.
"Medicines were produced in pharmacies before the industrialization of the sector. Pharmacies had cough syrups, syrups of all kinds and ointments and back then, doctors would send formulas for preparing medicines instead of prescriptions and we would mix and prepare them," he recalled the old days of pharmacy. "I still have some customers bringing me formulas and I try to prepare medicine but most ask for ready-made medicines," he told DHA.
According to him, producing a new medicine was a form of art, an act of creation.
In his last interview, he said: "I am 90 years old and I want to work as much as I can. But, after I die, I'm not sure what will happen to this store. I left this decision to the discretion of my family."