How the Medical system works in Turkey

Turkey, a state in Europe and Asia, is a transcontinental country. It shares its borders with 8 countries: Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Turkey is also bordered by the Black Sea to the north, the Aegean Sea to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the southwest. 3% of Turkey's territory is in Europe, while the rest of the country is on the Asian continent. Since May 2022, the official name of Turkey in English is Türkiye.

Turkey is a popular destination for medical tourism and has a good quality healthcare system. The medical staff is well qualified, the infrastructures are generally efficient, and the facilities strive to comply with international standards.

Turkey has a universal health insurance system. All residents are enrolled in the SGK (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu), the national Social Security scheme. This means they are entitled to healthcare in public facilities (sickness, maternity, occupational accidents, occupational diseases, and disability).



Healthcare for expats in Turkey

If you, or your spouse, are employed in Turkey, you are entitled to coverage under the SGK. If you are self-employed, you can also join for a monthly contribution of 614 Turkish Liras (around €33) and provided you have a residence permit.

The private sector has much more advanced and ultra-modern hospitals and healthcare centers, with extremely short waiting times and a large number of English-speaking healthcare professionals.

It is therefore highly recommended that you take out private international health insurance in Turkey. This will be particularly useful if you need to be repatriated and to benefit from the best possible medical care in the private sector.

Visiting a doctor in Turkey

In Turkey, there are around 2 doctors for every 1,000 people so you will have no trouble finding a healthcare professional in the country.

Turkish medical personnel in the public sector do not always speak good English. You are more likely to find an English-speaking doctor in the private sector.

In private facilities, you should expect to pay an average of €80 for a consultation with a general practitioner and more than €100 for a consultation with a specialist, according to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Being admitted to hospital in Turkey

There are almost 1,250 hospitals in Turkey, 32 of which are accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), which ensures compliance with international healthcare standards.

To find one of these JCI-accredited hospitals where most of the staff and doctors are certified English speakers, visit this dedicated page.

To find a doctor, hospital or healthcare center in Turkey, visit the Doctors of Turkey website.


Buying medication in Turkey

You will easily find many pharmacies (eczane) in Turkey, usually open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday where you will find all the usual medicines. There are also several 24-hour duty pharmacies.

TheIf you are taking medication with you on your trip, remember to bring your doctor's prescription which you may be asked to show at customs.

Vaccinations in Turkey

No vaccinations are required for travel to Turkey. However, it is recommended that you are up to date with the usual vaccination schedule. In particular, it is advisable to get the necessary booster shots for DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-polio) and MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) in children, as well as the vaccination against tuberculosis.

Depending on the geographical areas you are visiting and the conditions of the stay, vaccinations against yellow fever, viral hepatitis A and B, and rabies may be advisable.

Health risks in Turkey

In Turkey, Crimean-Congo fever, a viral disease transmitted by ticks, is present in certain regions: in Central Anatolia, on the Black Sea coastal area, as well as in the forest areas near Istanbul and Ankara. To avoid the risk, it is advisable to use repellents when visiting these regions.

Also keep away from stray dogs, which are present in several Turkish cities, some of which may be carrying rabies.

You should also be aware that tap water is generally not safe to drink in Turkey. Drink only bottled water or water that has been made safe for drinking.

Lastly, to avoid the risks of typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, be sure to adopt good food hygiene (wash your hands before each meal and avoid eating raw or undercooked products). Also, follow the usual coronavirus measures and recommendations in place in the country at the time of your departure.

Important numbers in Turkey

Emergency services and useful numbers:

  • Police: 155
  • Fire service: 199
  • Medical emergencies: 112

Source: MSH International