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A land of a thousand contrasts, straddling Europe and Asia, Turkey attracts and fascinates. Millions of visitors go there every year, whether for work, vacation, or even the various types of medical services the nation has to offer.
Among the things to think about before your trip, it's essential to consider the medical aspect. Whether it's a short stay or long-term expatriation, your health is paramount.
The Turkish system offers a wide range of health services, from general practitioner consultations to hospital care and medical tourism. But to fully understand the subtleties, it's important to be properly informed.

  Table of contents

Understanding the Turkish healthcare system

Social Security in Turkey

How can foreign nationals benefit from Turkish Social Security?

Using the European Health Insurance Card in Turkey

Is healthcare expensive in Turkey?

Getting medical treatment in Turkey

Medical tourism in Turkey

Understanding the Turkish healthcare system


Turkey has a comprehensive healthcare system, accessible to foreign residents who pay Social Security contributions. 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).


If you, or your partner, are employed in Turkey, you can join the SGK. If you work but do not have employee status, you can also join in return for a monthly contribution of 614 Turkish lira (around €33) and provided you have a residence permit.
  • The public system has seen improvements over the last few years, particularly through investments in medical infrastructure initiated by the Turkish government. But these developments are not yet fully sufficient to accommodate all patients, and some problem areas remain. For example, hospital waiting times can be long.
  • The private sector offers ultra-modern infrastructure and highly qualified staff. Private hospitals and health centers are ultra-modern, with extremely short waiting times and a large number of English-speaking health professionals.

When preparing for their arrival in Turkey, many expatriates opt for private health insurance, to benefit from faster and smoother access to medical care, optimal coverage of medical expenses, and the certainty of being covered if they need to be repatriated.

Social Security in Turkey


In Turkey, Social Security is linked to residency.

Foreign nationals who live permanently in Turkey and pay their Social Security contributions have no problem accessing the public health system.

It should be noted that residence status and related conditions vary according to nationality and status. Turkish citizens must have health insurance for as long as they are living in Turkey, in the same way as foreign nationals in Turkey who must take out health insurance for the time they are resident in the country.


The Caisse des Français de l'Etranger and Social Security in Turke

The Caisse des Français de l'Etranger (CFE) is a Social Security body that offers French nationals living abroad health and personal protection coverage similar to that in France. This means they can join the CFE and benefit from the reimbursement of their medical expenses in France and in their country of residence, whatever their age, professional situation, or country of residence. The sole condition is to have French nationality or be a citizen of a European Union member state (subject to conditions), reside abroad and not be (or no longer be) eligible for the statutory French Social Security scheme.


Turkish Social Security eligibility criteria

To be eligible for Turkish Social Security, you must be legally resident in the country for at least 12 months, whether on a temporary or permanent basis.

This includes the following:
  • Employees, whether they are Turkish or foreign nationals, are automatically enrolled.
  • The self-employed can also join, provided they have been resident in Turkey for at least one year and pay a monthly contribution.
  • French and Turkish retirees can benefit from Social Security in Turkey under a special agreement.
  • Lastly, international students are also eligible, depending on the agreements between Turkey and their country of origin.


In terms of administrative procedures, there are several steps to take (depending on your personal situation):
  • Register with Turkish Social Security: This enrollment became compulsory on January 1, 2012. To do this, you will need to contact your local Social Security center.
    • The application form must be completed in accordance with the instructions provided, and a separate form must be completed for each legally adult person who is not enrolled in the health insurance scheme.
  • Take out health insurance coverage: compulsory for all stays of one year or more in Turkey.
  • Obtain a residence permit: required for foreign nationals wishing to stay longer than their visa allows.

Special provisions for non-salaried worker

There are certain exceptions to the one-year residency requirement that allow you to benefit from Turkish Social Security. There are special provisions for persons who do not have employee status and cannot therefore be automatically enrolled.

As far as France is concerned, the two countries have signed a Social Security agreement that sets out special provisions for the coverage of medical expenses for French nationals staying temporarily in Turkey (subject to compliance with certain conditions).

Foreign nationals who have a work permit or a student card can also benefit from insurance funded by the Turkish government, without necessarily meeting the one-year minimum residency requirement.

In all cases, it’s compulsory to take out health insurance coverage for stays of one year or more in Turkey.

How can foreign nationals benefit from Turkish Social Security

Procedure for enrolling in Social Security

If you wish to apply for Social Security in Turkey as a foreign national, you will need to provide a number of documents.

 This list is not exhaustive:
  • Application form: this is your official application to join the Social Security scheme.
  • Proof of residence: this is proof that you live in Turkey. It can be a rental agreement, an electricity bill or any other document proving your residence.
  • Copy of your valid passport: this is proof of your identity and nationality. Make sure your passport is up to date and valid for the duration of your stay in Turkey.
  • Health certificate: This document certifies that you are not suffering from any terminal illness. You will probably have to undergo a medical examination to obtain this certificate.

You will need to provide the originals or certified copies of these documents.


Benefits for foreign nationals enrolled in the Turkish Social Security scheme

Whether you're in Turkey for a short or long stay, Turkish Social Security gives you access to a number of benefits:
  • Access to the public healthcare system: This includes basic medical care, visits to the doctor, hospital treatment, and medical prescriptions.
  • Financial protection: This is protection against costly healthcare. Social Security contributions cover a significant portion of medical expenses, which can greatly reduce the cost of healthcare for foreign nationals.
  • Maternity benefits: Pregnant women enrolled in the Turkish Social Security scheme are entitled to maternity benefits, which include care before, during and after the birth.
  • Unemployment benefits: If they become unemployed, foreign nationals enrolled in the scheme are entitled to unemployment benefits.
  • Retirement pension: After a certain contribution period, foreign nationals may be entitled to a retirement pension from Turkish Social Security.

Please note: benefits may vary depending on residency status and the Social Security agreement between Turkey and the person's country of origin.


Health insurance for students in Turkey


If you are a student going to study in Turkey, you must have health insurance. You can get this either through your university, or by taking out private health insurance. Students have up to three months from the date of their academic enrollment to arrange this.

Student health insurance covers all Turkish public hospitals. The price of this insurance is fixed, regardless of the student's age.

Using the European Health Insurance Card in Turkey


As Turkey is neither a member of the European Union nor the European Economic Area, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid there. In other words, healthcare received in Turkey will not be covered by your European health insurance.

The only exception to this is urgent and unforeseen medical treatment, which may be reimbursed on your return to your country of origin, on presentation of medical bills and supporting documents.

We strongly recommend taking out specific insurance to cover local medical expenses and any repatriation costs.

Is healthcare expensive in Turkey?


Turkey provides quality medical care at costs that are generally lower than in Europe or the USA. For example, a standard medical appointment costs between 200 and 300 Turkish lira, or around 20 to 30 euros. However, the cost of intensive care in private facilities can equal or exceed that in Western Europe. 

In all cases, rates depend on the insured’s income. Contributions correspond to 32% of income, calculated on an amount between a threshold of TRY 8,506 and a ceiling of 7.5 times the minimum wage, i.e. TRY 63,795.
  • 20% of these contributions are for disability, old-age and death insurance,
  • 12% is dedicated to universal health insurance.

Over the last few years, Turkey has also become a top destination for medical tourism, attracting patients from all over the world every year in search of high-quality, affordable healthcare. Thanks to the constant modernization of its healthcare system and huge investment in cutting-edge medical technologies, the country offers a wide range of specialist treatments, from cosmetic surgery and IVF and including orthopedics and ophthalmology. To find out more, visit our dedicated section here!

To summarize, healthcare prices in Turkey are generally attractive. However, you should bear in mind that the cost of medical care can vary depending on a number of factors (type of treatment, the chosen health facility, patient insurance, etc.).

Getting medical treatment in Turkey


Coverage of healthcare in Turkey

In Turkey, healthcare for expatriates and foreign residents is covered by two main options:
  • Universal Health Insurance: This insurance, managed by the Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu (SGK), covers all medical expenses for permanent residents, including foreign nationals. To qualify, you must have been legally resident in Turkey for at least one year.
  • Private health insurance: Many insurance companies, particularly recommended for those who prefer to have access to private healthcare, offer plans specially designed for expatriates.

Healthcare for women in Turkey


In Turkey, women's health is a priority. They benefit from specific health services such as maternity care, family planning and gynecology. Prenatal consultations are free and compulsory. In addition, screening for breast and cervical cancer is strongly encouraged, and national programs are in place.

But despite these advances, inequalities persist, particularly in terms of access to healthcare in rural areas.

If you are an expatriate woman, we recommend taking out private health insurance to benefit from more extensive and faster access to care.  


Visiting a doctor

In Turkey, there are around 2 doctors for every 1,000 people. Hospitals and doctors' offices can be found all over the country, although specialist doctors and centers of excellence are easier to find in the big cities. So you'll have no trouble finding a healthcare professional in the country.


But you should be aware that 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. To avoid paying too much for medical services, particularly for consultations with specialists, it may be worthwhile taking out a health insurance plan before you leave. That way, you'll benefit from better care and coverage. 


Being admitted to hospital

Turkish hospital standards focus on quality of care and patient safety. Hospitals strive to provide quality healthcare services through the use of advanced medical technologies and qualified doctors in various specialties. The Ministry of Health carries out regular quality checks to guarantee a certain standard of care.

In terms of infrastructure, the country has almost 1,250 hospitals, 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, go to this dedicated page.

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

Another option to bear in mind: the international medical network operated by your health insurer! It's generally very comprehensive and has the advantage of allowing you to benefit from attractively priced negotiated rates from certified health practitioners. 


Buying medication

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

If 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.


Vaccines to be carried out

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, 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.

Medical tourism in Turkey

Turkey has a powerful argument for attracting potential visitors: medical tourism. The quality of care, medical expertise and modern infrastructure are all well known, and every year thousands of people go to Turkey to visit the country and take advantage of its medical facilities.


In 2019, Turkey welcomed almost a million tourists from all over the world for medical reasons.

To accommodate and meet the needs of all these new arrivals, some Turkish healthcare facilities offer dedicated services, making it easier to organize your medical stay. For example, specialized medical tourism platforms such as Turquie Santé make it easier to search for the best practitioner at the best price, across a very wide range of specialties.

As a result, Turkey has become a benchmark for medical tourism, positioning the country among the world's leading destinations in this field and attracting a highly diverse population.

It’s important to note, however, that as a medical tourist, coverage is not guaranteed under your standard health insurance.

In conclusion, living in Turkey means adapting to the local healthcare system. Medical expenses in the country vary depending on the coverage chosen. Local health insurance may be an option but will only cover certain medical services. For full coverage, we recommend taking out international health insurance.


Good to know

Services to contact in case of a life-threatening emergency and useful numbers:
  • Police: 155
  • Fire service: 199
  • Medical emergencies: 112

Official name: Republic of Türkiye
Main cities: Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, and Bursa
Type of state: Unitary presidential republic
Capital: Istanbul

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