Health Tips in Turkey




Most expatriates in Turkey opt for private health insurance. This is because it guarantees them access to quality health care at private medical facilities across the country. There are a number of companies offering a variety of health insurance plans, so shop around before opting for one. Turkey offers numerous concessions to those belonging to EU countries. You may check with your consulate to see if your country has any agreements with Turkey in this regard. 

Turkish hospitals follow a dual pricing system where they charge varying amounts for locals and foreigners. You may be required to negotiate to bring down some exorbitant costs at hospitals. So be prepared on that front or simply ask a Turkish friend to help you negotiate. 


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As an expatriate living and working in Turkey, you and your spouse would be entitled to medical treatment in a public hospital. Despite the fact that doctors in most public facilities are qualified and efficient, there is much left to be desired with regard to the waiting time and quality of equipment.  Of all the public facilities in the country, the teaching hospitals are well maintained and manned by very good doctors. The downside is that the number of support staff is on the lower side. 

When in Turkey, most foreigners opt for private health care in the country's excellent network of private hospitals and clinics. The superior quality of staff, facilities and lack of Turkish language barrier are all factors that contribute to this. If you have private health insurance then your insurer will provide you with a list of private hospitals and clinics in the country. 


Doctors in Turkey are well trained; even in public hospitals you will find doctors who are efficient and qualified. A number of well trained dentists (diş hekimi) are available throughout the country. However, beware of cheaper alternatives. The country is well known for expert laser surgery and is a preferred destination for ophthalmologic treatment. Contact your consulate or embassy for a list of English speaking doctors and dentists. A recommendation from colleagues and friends is another good alternative to finding a doctor all by yourself.    


There is a good network of pharmacies (eczane) in Turkey, the larger ones among them even offer vaccinations and basic medical services. Large cities have 24 hour pharmacies while villages and smaller towns have a designated "duty pharmacist" (nöbetçi eczane) on call 24 hours a day. It is possible to procure medications that usually classify as prescription drugs elsewhere over the counter in Turkey. Generally speaking, it is easy to procure all kinds of medications in the country. Pharmacists are happy to oblige and order any medicines that they do not have in stock for customers. 

In Turkey, doctors usually write 3-4 prescriptions per visit and this could be even before an official diagnosis has been made. Pharmaceutical companies are known to pay doctors to push up sales of their medications. Besides this, people in Turkey have a lot of faith in pharmaceutical treatment and this is probably why medical treatment in the country revolves around pills and more pills. 

When buying medications, check for generic medications. Also steer clear of accepting every recommendation made by a pharmacist. While pharmacists in the country are well qualified they tend to sell the most expensive medications to foreigners. 

Emergency Numbers

Ambulance (ambulans): 112

In Case of an Emergency

Dial 112 and ask for an ambulance in an emergency; alternatively, you may call for a taxi. Keep important telephone numbers handy for use during an emergency. Choose your course of action depending on the gravity of the situation. Response times for public ambulances are longer and they tend to be poorly equipped. Private ambulance services like Medline and International Hospital available in Istanbul are efficient; however, the availability of such services declines sharply in smaller cities like Ankara and Izmir. Air ambulance services like Doruk Air, Medline Ambulance Service and International SOS Assistance also operate in Turkey. 

Health Risks

There are no major health risks in the country.