Dear Colleagues,

2016 is an exceptional year in the history of Turkish ophthalmology. For we are holding the fiftieth National Congress this year. Having celebrated its eighty eighth anniversary, Turkish Ophthalmological Association with a leading role amongst all scientific and professional associations started organizing national congresses on a regular level at least twenty years preceding its closest follower and undersigned an ever broken record in the number of its scientific congresses.

Turkish Ophthalmology Congresses, the first of which was held in 1955 in Istanbul have been organized biannually until 1976 and annually as from 1977 without any interruption whatsoever. I once again would like to commemorate and acknowledge our distinguished colleagues having contributed to writing of these incredible pages in history.

It is not an easy task to make history. We wanted to dedicate this congress to great people, who played the lead role in building modern Turkey and contemporary Turkish ophthalmology. It is for this reason that we decided to inscribe the 50th National Congress of TOA to M. Kemal Atatürk, the founder of our Republic, who is living in our hearts, and to all our colleagues. 

The Congress will take place with special contributions of TOA Ankara Branch. Ankara is our capital city. It is one of the symbols of the Republic. It has been a privilege and a nice coincidence that this year’s congress is organized with their contribution.
Maxx Royal Congress Center, Belek, Antalya has been picked as the congress venue upon your discretion. We have been working to organize a perfect congress at this exceptionally high-quality facility. 

Our units have worked hard to announce the scientific program in a timely manner. I would like to thank all steering committees. 

This year, we made considerable amount of innovations in the scientific program. Taking into consideration the feedback you have provided us on questionnaires, we have arranged the program with a new understanding. Number of simultaneous sessions has been minimized as much as possible. We aimed at assigning international speakers to panels and courses, which we think are appealing to participants more than conferences. Another innovation is that “subspeciality-day” like courses, namely “Advanced Scientific Education Programs (BILEP)” have been put on the first day of the congress. This way, our colleagues are given the opportunity to follow innovations on a given topic by attending these courses and to attend other sessions to take place on the other days. 

Major meetings on this scale cannot be organized without industry support. The industry has been in a continuous effort to support the 50th Congress as much as possible contributing to a vivid congress with satellite panels, exhibition area activities and various sponsorships. 

The participants also want to sustain their exchange of knowledge and spend some comfortable time together outside the meeting halls. In congress centers that give us the chance to spend some relax time together, we can socialize and interact better.

Members of the Organizing Committee have started working hard from the moment of their assignment also for an enriched social program. We are in the opinion that not only the scientific but also social content of the congress should be rich. 

You will be the stars of the congress with your scientific papers, high attendance to sessions and active participation to social events. 

Hope to meet you in peace at this exceptional congress.

Prof. Reha Ersöz
Congress President
President of Turkish Ophthalmological Association 

Distinguished Collegues,

It is an honor to be in the organization of 50th National Congress as Turkish Ophthalmological Association Ankara Branch.

I would like to remind you the establishment date of Turkish Ophthalmological Association is July 16th, 1928 which has an important role in society understanding of Turkish Republic with 88 years history. We are doing our best together with the whole organization committee with the understanding and responsibility of it is not a random chance to organize 50th congress. I owe the founders a debt of gratitude and thank all the valuable professors of us who have increased the value that high.

We organize this very special congress for our great leader Atatürk and Turkish ophtalmologists.

As it will be convenient with the meaning of our congress, I would like to state the letter related to Atatürk's sick left eye. During his childhoold there were consultations on amblyopia related to keratitis in his left eye and after Tripoli war, it acted up. As it could not be treated under the circumstances of war, it was treated in Vienne on 10-17 November 1912 by Dr. Ernst Fuchs. As it is well known, Fuchs is the most important cornea specialist of his time. Atatürk put his experiences of those times into words in a letter to his friend Kerim Bey; 

"Dear brother Kerim Bey, ...we came to Derne after 22 December 1911 battle which gave successfull results, after we came from Tobruk. We suffered a lot on the roads, we were tired, we got wet and cold. It was not possible to handle the poverty in Derne as it is just the beginning phase. Starting with 16/17 January 1912 attack, on 17th January battle night my vision was lost and blood built up as it was already badly damaged during the day. The suffering of my eye prevent me from my duties. I was hospitalized to the redcrescent (Hilaliahmer) hospital. After one-month treatment, I was discharged on my willing request even though I was not treated completely.

As the situation went worse, Ender became the General Commander and I became Derne Force Commander. Right at those times, on March 3rd, 1912 there was a general battle. At that day, there was an extraordinary fatigue and starving also we were exposed to cold as the battle lasted till night. As a result of this situation, my eye's sickness relapsed the day after. I could not be able to get out of the bed and could not open my eyes. At last the pain had gone, we started to work. However, my left eye started to see less clearly. Physicians adviced me to go to Egypt. I did not consent with the idea. Finally, it was decided that the loss of vision would stop at this point and not go any worse. Though the physician says it will be better through the time, I do not believe.

I do not know how to handle the need of resting and giving up the military work aside after this very war. I am sure that this letter will find you well and end my words here waiting your letter even telgraph. I respectfully deliver my regards, dear brother."

In order to have a convenient 50th Congress, Social Committee works hard to have a good social program with great effort. I believe that Antalya Belek Maxx Royal Convention Center will get a lot credit which is also chosen as a result of a questionnaire.

I would like to thank to distinguished scientists and distinguished collegues who will present their valuable experiences in panels and conferences and also to industrial companies which support our congress.

I whole heartedly believe that with your participation our congress will strengthen the unity and spirit among us with an athmosphere of celebration. I would like to invite you to Antalya in order to attend 50th National Congress on behalf of NCOC and TOA and extend my gratitutes and respects.

Dr. Ümit Ekşioğlu, PhD.
President of Ankara Branch of TOA
2nd President of Congress

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