With one foot in Europe and the other in the Near East, Turkey is a vast land of diverse cultures and landscapes, ranging from the bustling commercial centers of Istanbul to the quiet agricultural villages of the eastern provinces. Now a major presence on the world’s economic and political scene, Turkey is poised to play its part in the global healthcare arena as well.
The Turkish Cultural and Tourism Ministry has spent millions to spread the word that Turkey welcomes medical and health travelers. The country has much to offer. Turkish cuisine is among the best in the world, and—if you have the time and feel well enough for a vacation—millions before you have enjoyed the port cities of Marmaris and Fethiye, the stone dwellings of Cappadocia, and the Mediterranean resorts of Izmir .
Turkey boasts a thriving network of more than 1200 public and private hospitals. Many of its 300 private facilities have developed working relationships with prestigious international medical centers, providing opportunities for staff development, improvements in treatment, and up-to-date information exchange. Affiliations include Harvard Medical International, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and New York Presbyterian.
Turkey and Medical Travel
Turkey is now promoting medical travel in a big way; in 2014 Turkish medical institutions welcomed some 155,000 foreign patients.
Few medical travelers realize that Turkey has 44 JCI-accredited hospitals—more than any other country in the region. The leading healthcare groups are located in Turkey's three largest cities (Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir), offering one-stop service to foreign patients and often covering all arrangements from the day of request to the day of departure.
Most medical travelers heading to Turkey are from nearby neighboring regions: the Middle East, the Turkic States, Russia, and North Africa—seeking specialized healthcare unavailable or inadequate in their homelands. More recently, patients from North America and Europe seeking to escape high prices or long waits are discovering Turkey’s medical merits. Medical costs in Turkey compare favorably with well-traveled international healthcare destinations in Asia. Turkish healthcare standards are high, dictated by aggressive national and international accreditation, certification, and oversight.
While the visiting patient can expect a comprehensive range of medical services, Turkey's specialties include transplantation (bone, kidney, liver pancreas, stem cell), genetic testing, neurosurgery (brain cancer, degenerative spine disorder, peripheral nerve surgery, epileptic surgery), ophthalmology (one of world’s largest vision clinic networks is headquartered in Istanbul) cardiology, orthopedics (spine, shoulder, knee, sports and pediatrics), cosmetic surgery, and dentistry.
Wellness Tourism Flourishes Here
Turkey has developed a booming trade in vacation tourism over the last three decades; thus, extending the traditional Turkish warmth and hospitality to medical travelers is not a stretch. Health and wellness travelers see Turkey as a popular destination because of its natural thermal spa resorts and mud baths, which alone attract nearly a half million visitors.
While Turkey aggressively promotes to the Western medical traveler, English-speaking patients should be cautious of language barriers, and first gain comfort in a facility’s translation services.
Last updated on 15 January 2017