Healthcare system in Turkey

Healthcare system in Turkey

  • Post last modified:February 14, 2023
  • Reading time:11 mins read
  • Post category:Economy / Guides / Tourism

Have you ever wondered what the healthcare system in Turkey looks like Are you interested in learning more about the country’s healthcare infrastructure  

In this article, we’ll talk about the current state of health care in Turkey and go over some of its most important aspects.

Healthcare system in Turkey

Introduction to the Turkish Healthcare System

The Turkish Healthcare System is a mix of public and private health services, with the Ministry of Health (MOH), universities, and the private sector as the main health service providers. It was in 2003 that Turkey introduced universal health care, which is known as “universal health.” 

All residents registered with the Social Security Institution (SSI) are entitled to free health care. In this blog section, we’ll be taking a look at the structure and components of the Turkish health system, its public and private health care providers, insurance schemes and more. So let’s dive in and explore the Turkish healthcare system together!

History of the Healthcare system in Turkey

You may have heard about Turkey’s healthcare system, but what you may not know is the long and complex history behind it. The first comprehensive healthcare service in Turkey was established in 1923 by Dr. Saydam, who significantly contributed to the design and development of healthcare services in the country. 

Since then, Turkey has undertaken major reforms to transform and improve its healthcare system and health outcomes. In 2003, universal health care was introduced in Turkey and is known as Universal Health Insurance (UHI) or Genel Sağlık Sigortası in Turkish.

Today, the healthcare system in Turkey consists of a mix of public and private health services. All health care and related social welfare activities are coordinated by the Ministry of Health (MOH), universities, and the private sector.

 The Turkish Association of Family Physicians is also an important part of the health system, promoting family medicine and providing support for family physicians in their practice.

Structure of the Healthcare system in Turkey

The Turkish health system is made up of the following components:

Public and Private Health Care Providers

Both public and private health care providers play an essential role in providing healthcare services to the population.

The public healthcare is primarily funded by the government and is administered by the Ministry of Health. It includes hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities that are owned or managed by the government.

On the other hand, the private sector consists of hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers that are owned or managed by individuals or organizations. 

These health care providers are funded through private insurance or out-of-pocket payments. Both public and private health care providers offer quality healthcare services to patients in Turkey. 

Health Insurance in Turkey

The healthcare system comprises of both public and private health services.

Public health services are provided by the Turkish government through Universal Health Insurance. This health insurance is available for all citizens and foreigners living in Turkey. It covers all essential medical needs including hospitalization, specialist care, maternity care and vaccinations. (The public health insurance is not for free and as a foreigner you will need to pay for it)

Private health insurance is another option available to those living in Turkey. This type of health insurance typically covers more extensive medical care than what is offered through the Universal Health Insurance plan.

It also has other benefits such as access to private hospitals, more comprehensive coverage of medical costs, and better quality of care. Private health insurance may also provide coverage for travel abroad.

When choosing a health insurance plan in Turkey, it is important to consider your needs and budget carefully. 

Health insurance in Turkey

How is the Turkish Health System funded

The funding for the Turkish health system comes from a variety of sources, such as government budget funded by taxation revenue, contributions from employed citizens and university hospitals, allocations from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) for base salaries and operating costs, fees paid by insurers or individuals, and some taxes.

Issues with the Healthcare system in Turkey

Despite the major reforms introduced to the healthcare system in Turkey, there are still some issues that need to be addressed. 

Booking a doctor appointment in Turkey may take longer than expected, due to the high demand. However, the country has taken great strides to ensure that everyone is able to access medical care. 

They have implemented smart ranking systems based on real patient reviews, making it easier for people to find the best hospitals and doctors. 

Benefits of the Healthcare system in Turkey

1. With the introduction of universal health care in 2003, the Turkish health system now offers free emergency care for all citizens.
2. Emergency departments are open non-stop all year and can provide quick treatment when you need it most.
3. The new system covers anyone who works legally in Turkey, providing free health care in hospitals and government clinics.
4. Poor people earning less than a minimum level of income defined by the law are provided a special card giving them free access to outpatient and inpatient treatments.
5. The cost of healthcare in Turkey is generally lower than in other countries, making it an attractive option for those looking to save on medical bills

Public health insurance Turkey

How to Access Healthcare in Turkey

You can access the healthcare system in Turkey by calling the Central Physician Appointment System on 182 where they will schedule an appointment for you. 

Alternatively, you can opt for private health services, which offer more choice and flexibility but require a monthly fee. Whichever option you choose, it’s important to remember that Turkey has a highly complex health system and the Ministry of Health, universities and the private sector are all involved in providing healthcare services.

Comparison with Other Healthcare Systems

Comparing the Turkish healthcare system with other systems around the world, it is clear that Turkey has made significant progress in terms of both price and quality. 

The price of healthcare in Turkey is significantly lower than in other European countries, making it a great option for those looking for affordable medical care.

Turkey also has some catching up to do. With a physician density of a doctor for every 517 citizen. The median age in Turkey is 30, meanwhile in EU countries it is 43.9, indicating that Turkey has a relatively young population compared to other European nations. 

Important Turkish words to use in healthcare

1. When visiting a hospital in Turkey, it’s important to know the words for common health-related items. Ambulance (Ambulans) is the word for ambulance, and hospital (Hastane) is the word for hospital.

2. Two other important words to know are (Sağlık), which means health and (Revir), which means First aid room. Knowing these terms will help ensure you receive the best care possible.

3. If you are injured while in Turkey, you need to be able to communicate this to medical staff. The word for injuries is (Yaralanmalar) and lotion is (Losyon).

4. Finally, if you want to thank a doctor or nurse for their assistance, use the phrase “Sağ ol” which means “Thank you”. Becoming familiar with these words will help you have a more comfortable stay in Turkey if you experience any medical issues while there.

Turkey healthcare ranking

In a recent study published in The Lancet, Turkey was ranked 60th in the world for health care.


In conclusion, the Turkish health system has gotten a lot better over the years in terms of how easy it is to get care. This is because reforms have been made to change and improve the system.

The system is centralized and has a complex structure, with public and private providers offering different levels of care.

Health insurance is available in Turkey, and funding is provided by both the government and private sources. Despite these improvements, there are still some issues that need to be addressed in order to improve the overall quality of care in the country.

However, overall, the Turkish health system is a good option for those looking for quality healthcare services.