Medical tourism is a developing field and Turkey is one of the outstanding countries. If you’re planning to come to Turkey and get your treatment done, “medical tourism Turkey” is here for you! This article will discuss everything you need to know about your journey to Turkey for your medical needs and wants.
Turkey is one of the most popular destinations for medical tourism. The major reasons why people come to Turkey for medical tourism are affordability and high quality, success, and satisfaction rates of the procedures. Of course, everyone needs assurance before they even consider having medical treatment done in another country.
We will answer all of your questions in this article. Let’s start by explaining Turkey’s healthcare system.
Turkey healthcare system, where it really matters
With medical tourism, here come the important matters of safety, affordability reasons, needs, doctor reliability, and the health system.
Medical tourism in Turkey has come a long way. Seeing its accessibility and good results, more and more people prefer Turkey as their health tourism destination. The price & service ratio even sometimes seems unbelievable to some tourists. Understandable, especially during these times.
In the past two decades, Turkey healthcare system has moved towards privatization. This resulted in most surgeons leaving public health services and transferring to private hospitals after their mandatory tenure is fulfilled. This attracted a lot of foreign patients to have their procedures done in Turkish private hospitals. It was affordable, and the patients received good results, if not better.
Turkey healthcare system has been reformed to compete with other Western countries that are medical tourism destinations, such as Mexico. Medical tourism hospitals were funded with the latest technology equipment. And it was made sure that surgeons in these hospitals met the top-notch quality requirements. Not only medical tourism hospitals were funded in this equation. But also, medical tourism agencies were accredited during this development.
Medical tourism agencies also help patients by organizing their trips and providing them with transportation within the city, translators, and accommodation. These services eliminated the possible problems that happen with the medical tourism sector.
All the data on medical tourism in Turkey
According to TURKSTAT data, in 2021, approximately 600 thousand medical tourists visited Turkey. According to our collected data, approximately $1,5 billion was spent on all of the aesthetic surgeries. However, some sources argue the accuracy of this data, claiming that the numbers are higher. They state that 1,2 million medical tourists visited Turkey. Which makes the approximate revenue $3,5-4 billion.
It is expected that the figures will reach even higher than $3 billion in 2023, as Turkey progressively gets more popular and successful in the health tourism sector and Covid is no longer considered an issue.
Internationally approved hospitals
We mentioned above that foreign patients were starting to visit Turkey for their medical procedures for its affordability. This situation caught the attention of health workers and providers. City hospitals for medical tourism were built. And many hospitals were accredited by the Joint Commission International. There are currently 34 JCI-accredited hospitals in Turkey.
If you don’t know, JCI-accredited hospitals are highly inspected, reliable hospitals. Also, if they are in Turkey, they have a good benefit. Let us summarize the situation like this: Turkey is developing in medical tourism and wants to go bigger. So, the government chooses the reliable ones and with help of the Ministry of Health, gives them the advantage of 50% tax reduction. This is highly alluring for hospitals but only good ones can take advantage of it.
These kinds of hospitals generally work with medical tourism agencies. So that the patients will have no problems with communicating and organizing.
High success rate amongst doctors in Turkey
The success and satisfaction rates of Turkey health tourism are undeniable. That is made possible by fully qualified doctors and certified service providers. Doctors in this field dedicate most of their time to training and bettering their professions to give the best service they can offer.
Both the doctors and the medical tourism agencies are regularly inspected by the Ministry of Health. This way, the best medical care Turkey can offer is made consistent. Of course, unfortunately, there will be clinics that will try to take advantage of your tourist status. While you are choosing a clinic and/or a surgeon, you need to make sure that they acquire proper certifications, such as TÜRSAB, and are accredited health institutions. TÜRSAB is a license given by the Ministry of Health in Turkey. Clinics and hospitals that have this license are eligible for medical tourism services.
If you want to learn more, read this article on why you should trust Turkish doctors.
Quality service at affordable prices
According to our collected data, compared to the US, you can save up to 90% on medical procedures in Turkey. For instance, a veneer cost $200 per tooth in Turkey while the same procedure costs around $2,500 per tooth in the USA. As well as dental treatments, cosmetic procedures are also more affordable.
All of this gives birth to this question: how can it be this affordable? The economy takes its toll on many countries. And nowadays “cheap” may seem confusing, and a bit scary. Because: “What if I get botched?” This is a reasonable concern. Let’s clear the air and let us ease your mind.
Why is medical tourism Turkey considered so affordable?
Medical tourism Turkey expenses are affordable for medical tourists. And there are quite a few reasons why. One of them is the currency exchange rate. Due to Turkey’s declining economy, the Turkish Lira has less value when compared to the dollar, pound, dinar, etc.
The low cost of living in Turkey also affects the price. Compared to other European countries, Turkey has a lower cost of living. This way, Turkey is able to offer a more affordable quote on procedures for medical tourists.
There is also competition amongst other popular medical tourism destinations, such as Turkey, Mexico, Lithuania, India, etc. In order to increase the medical tourist patient traffic, these countries try to offer price ranges as affordable as they can. So it is normal to see competitive prices to Turkey’s advantage, due to the factors we mentioned above, it is simpler for Turkey to offer affordable prices.
To increase the medical tourism rate, Turkey offers clinics and hospitals a marvelous opportunity of being released from taxes. That’s why the expenses you have are less as no tax is included.
Medical tourism Turkey: all-in-one package advantages
These services are included in all-inclusive medical care packages. Unlike the USA or the UK, the final expense does not leave out the medical staff and medical facility, tools, and other procedure-related fees. All of the fees are included in the package when the quote is given to you. In other words, patients will not be surprised by any hidden costs. Also remember, when buying an all-in-one package, the expenses drop heavenly.
This will ease and make your journey much more peaceful. You won’t need to stress out, you will be well taken care of, and your accommodation and even transportation will be thought of.
If the patient would like to do so, they can also benefit from extra services, such as sightseeing and/or VIP transportation. The fees for these services will be added to their all-inclusive package.
What’s included in the all-inclusive packages?
- Lab work
- Local and/or general anesthesia
- Surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses
- Facility fees
- Prescribed meds and supplies
- Follow-up appointments
What do I need to know for my travel to Turkey?
You need all the information you can get before traveling to Turkey for your medical journey. From A to Z, no exceptions. You need to know what you need in order to enter Turkey, how long should you stay so that you can take as many days off as you need from work, or if you’re a student, when should you visit Turkey.
Because of regulations made in the past few years, European citizens and some other nations are exempted from visas for their travels to Turkey for up to 90 days. This also has increased the medical tourism traffic within Turkey. But, if you are not a citizen of mentioned countries, you must obtain a medical visa to enter Turkey.
1- Is it easy to get a visa to visit Turkey?
Absolutely, yes. Of course, as with any other country you plan to go to, you need certain documents on your travel. These will be crucial for your journey. Let’s examine the documents you are going to need to enter Turkey:
- You need to make sure that your travel document and/or passport are valid for 6 months from your arrival date to Turkey.
- European citizens are not required to have visas to enter Turkey, provided they will not stay longer than 90 days. If you plan to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days, you are going to need to get a residency visa.
- You will also need entering and exiting stamps in order to arrive and leave Turkey.
For more information on individual countries, citizenships, entry requirements, and e-Visa applications, visit Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
What do NON-EU citizens need?
If you are an ordinary passport holder, you are required to have a visa to enter Turkey. You can go to the Turkish Embassy in your country to apply for a medical visa. The medical visa is valid for 30-90 days. Just like European citizens and people from countries that are visa-exempt, if your stay in Turkey will exceed 90 days, you are going to need to get a residency visa. Or you can use the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website of Turkey to apply for an e-Visa. You can also check what else is required to enter Turkey from your country on the website.
2- How long do I need to stay in Turkey?
How long you need to stay in Turkey depends on the procedure you would like to have. For instance, if you plan to have a liposuction procedure done in Turkey, it is recommended that you stay for 7 days. If the cosmetic surgery is more complicated and more invasive, you may need to stay in Turkey longer. Because the first few days post-op is crucial for observation in case any complications occur. This way, it can be prevented or dealt with quickly.
Traveling to Turkey: no anxiety allowed
Turkey is a safe country. The crime index is low, being 39,62 per 100K people. In Mexico, this number is 58, and 46 in the UK. But, that does not mean we should throw caution to the wind. There are other things you can experience. Such as tourist traps in taxis, pickpocketing, and harassment. Because of these, the police take extra precautions to prevent these from happening for the sake of Turkey tourism safety, and of course, citizen safety. You can avoid these from happening by avoiding certain areas, taking necessary precautions, and doing proper research.
Is Turkey safe for tourists?
Yes, it is. Although Turkey has low crime rates, pickpocketing and other petty crimes are common issues all around the world. And unfortunately, that is not all. Here are some of the precautions every health tourist should take:
- Only take the necessary items with you when you are in tourist areas. Try not to carry valuables with you. Keep your essentials, such as money and phone, close to you at all times. Fanny packs are not always lame, people. They are practical and safe.
- If you can, use navigation apps to make sure your cab driver is not driving you around for extra money.
- If you do not have mobile data, most cafes in Turkey provide Wi-Fi service. Use them to check your route on a map. There are also apps that can help you use public transportation by telling you which bus or other public transportation vehicles you should use to reach your destination.
- Try to avoid overcrowded areas. Overcrowded areas are basically fishing lakes for pickpockets. Keep that fanny pack safe.
- Try to keep your passport and ID card with you at all times. The police might want to inspect you for precautionary reasons.
- If you have any medical conditions, or if you have recently gone through plastic surgery, bring the paperwork you need to show to your doctor for proper examination and/or consultation.
- There are a lot of stray dogs and cats in Turkey. Most Turkish people feed and adore them, so they are generally friendly. But unfortunately, some of them were treated badly or were not properly vaccinated. If a stray dog or a cat is exhibiting aggressive actions, stay calm. If you were to be attacked by them, go to the hospital immediately as they can have rabies.
(1) From Rep. of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Link
(2) Türkiye İstatistik Kurumu (TÜİK). Link
(3) Pirzada N. The Expansion of Turkey’s Medical Tourism Industry. Voices in Bioethics. 2022;8. doi:10.52214/vib.v8i.9894 Link
(4) Ozan-Rafferty ME, Johnson JA, Shah GH, Kursun A. In the Words of the Medical Tourist: An Analysis of Internet Narratives by Health Travelers to Turkey. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2014;16(2):e2694. doi:10.2196/jmir.2694 Link
(5) Ozan-Rafferty ME, Johnson JA, Shah GH, Kursun A. In the Words of the Medical Tourist: An Analysis of Internet Narratives by Health Travelers to Turkey. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2014;16(2):e2694. doi:10.2196/jmir.2694 Link
(6) Uygun M. An evaluation of Turkey’s health tourism policies using a social network analysis approach. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management. 2021;37(2):804-823. doi:10.1002/hpm.3362 Link
(7) Jointcommissioninternational.org. Published 2021. https://www.jointcommissioninternational.org/about-jci/accredited-organizations/#f:_Facet_Country=