Turkey Medical Tourism
Turkey Medical Tourism gives you access to 32 JCI accredited hospitals, with partnerships to renowned institutions such as Harvard Medical Center and Johns Hopkins, among others
Turkey straddles both Asia and Europe, and is commonly referred to as an Eurasian country. It borders four different seas and eight countries: Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria; and coupled with its rich history as the successor state to the powerful Ottoman Empire that stretched all the way into Eastern Europe and North Africa, Turkey’s culture is a unique tapestry that blends both the East and the West. In recent years, Turkey has integrated itself into the West through such organizations as NATO, the Council of Europe, and the G-20; and it has been trying to gain membership into the European Union (EU). Due to its advanced economy and infrastructure, Turkey is classified as both a developed country (like the U.S. and Western Europe) and a regional power. It is also more secular than other countries in the region, and in major cities it is common to see women wearing abayas (a black over garment worn by some Islamic women) with niqabs (a face veil that covers everything but the eyes) and miniskirts, in which both are acceptable attire.
Turkey Medical Tourism Fame
The Joint Commission International has accredited 32 hospitals in Turkey; mostly located in Istanbul, however, there are some in Bursa (northwest, near Istanbul), Ankara (central northwest), Antalya (southwest), Izmir (west), Adana (south central), and Kocaeli (east of Istanbul). Turkey is set to join the European Union (EU) and with that membership its hospitals are held to the same standards as those in other EU countries. On top of its impressive accreditation credentials, some hospitals have partnerships with top American hospitals such as Harvard Medical Center and Johns Hopkins, and are staffed with many highly skilled, English speaking, and western trained doctors. Also, many hospitals offer 5 star accommodations for patients and their families.
The most popular procedures sought by medical tourists are cosmetic surgery and dental treatments, however Turkey offers top-notch medical care in cardiology, ophthalmology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, nephrology, oncology, neurology, dermatology, gynecology/obstetrics, orthopedics, organ transplantation, and otolaryngology (ear, nose & throat).
The official language of Turkey is Turkish, but Kurdish is also widely spoken. English is understood in many private hospitals that cater to medical tourists.
The coastal areas of Turkey are subject to mild winters and hot, humid summers, while the inland areas are subject to very cold winters and excessively hot summers. The eastern part of Turkey has more extreme temperatures, which can fall to as low as 10.4oF (-12oC)) with snow from December to April, and summer temperatures can reach an unbearable 113oF (45oC). Unlike the eastern region, the coastal region (including Istanbul) is subject to more pleasant temperatures with average high temperatures in the mid 80’soF (about 29oC). Note that if you are travelling to the Black Sea coast (where Istanbul is located), bring an umbrella because it gets two to three times the national average of rainfall, however the rain does subside a bit between April and September.
Visa / Entrance Requirements
U.S. and Canadian citizens are required to have a tourist visa in order to enter Turkey. A 90 day sticker can be obtained at the point of entry for $20 cash. You must also have a passport (valid for 6 months from date of entry).
Airlines Servicing this Destination
Turkey has many airports, but the ones that are pertinent to medical tourists are:
- Adana-Sakirpasa Airport (ADA)
- Ankara-Esenboga Airport (ESB)
- Antalya-Antalya Airport (AYT)
- Istanbul-Ataturk International Airport (IST)
- Izmir-Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB)
*Bursa has its own small airport (BZT), but there are two international airports approximately 50 miles (80 km) away: Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul and Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) in Sabiha Gokcen.
**Kocaeli has a small airport (KCO), but the closest international airports are Ataturk (60.4 miles/97.2 km) and Sabiha Gokcen (34 miles/54.7 km).
The following airlines have flights to Turkey:
- Northwest Airlines
- Air France
- LOT Polish Airlines
- United Airlines
- American Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- British Airways
- Virgin Atlantic
- Olympic Airlines
For the budget traveler, a room in a hostel or guesthouse cost $15-$40 USD per person per night. Most are in the $20-$30 range in Istanbul and in the $15-$20 range elsewhere. 3 star hotels start at $61 per night for a double occupancy room. However, if you prefer luxury accommodations, then you will not be disappointed with what Turkey has to offer. $178 to $562 per night can get you a high ranking 5 star hotel, converted palace, resort, or even a converted Turkish prison! There are also a lot of luxury villas (including beach villas) available.
The currency of Turkey is the Lira (TRY).
The exchange rate of U.S. dollars to Turkish liras is $1 USD dollar to 1.55 TRY (exchange rate subject to change).
The international access code for Turkey is 90.
The following are important area codes for medical travelers:
- Adana: 322
- Ankara: 312
- Bursa: 224
- Antalya: 242
- Izmir: 232
- Istanbul: 212, 216
In order to call Turkey from the U.S. or Canada you must dial 011 (exit code) then 90 (country code for Turkey), then the area code (three digits), and then the phone number (seven digits).
To call a cell phone in Turkey from the U.S. and Canada you must dial 011 + 90 + area code (three digits, begins with the number 5) + phone number (seven digits).
In order to call the U.S. or Canada from Turkey you must dial 00 + 1 + area code + phone number
Cyber-cafes are widely available in major cities and towns. Larger hotels and most private hospitals throughout the country offer Broadband Internet connection.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
U.S. Embassy in Ankara: (90) 312-455-5555
U.S. Consulate in Istanbul: (90) 212-335-9000
U.S. Consulate in Adana: (90) 322-346-6262
Turkey’s vast terrain and blend of cultures make sightseeing an experience! From religious and secular architecture to ecotourism, Turkey has it all. The Yerebatan Basilica Cistern is Istanbul’s largest underground cistern and is a remnant of the Roman Empire. Hagia Sophia is an edifice that is a blend of Islam and Christianity. It was built in 537 AD and used as a church for almost 1000 years before it was converted into a Mosque. The Blue Mosque is the only mosque in the world with six minarets (tall spires with onion-shaped crowns). However, if you prefer seeing the living spaces of royalty over religious architecture then you will not be disappointed. Istanbul is home to many palaces including the Beylerbeyi Palace and the Topkapi Palace.
Cities outside of Istanbul have a lot to offer as well, especially in the realm of archaeological ruins. Antalya is close to the ancient city of Perge, and Ankara is two cities combined into one: an old city around a citadel and a modern metropolis that has sprouted up in recent years as a planned attempt at accommodating governmental entities. The city of Safranbolu houses a well preserved Ottoman town, and the Ephesus and the Hierapolis are well preserved Roman cities.
Turkey is also home to many national parks and beaches including the Nemrut Dagi National Park, the Bey Mountains National Park, and the Kuscenneti National Park. A major travel guide listed Alacati Bay (Ideal for windsurfing), Pirlanta Beach, Altinkum Beach, Turkbuku, and Konyaalti as the best beaches in Turkey.
In Turkey, chic boutiques, Turkish bazaars, and open-air markets are everywhere, and the most popular items to purchase at these places are carpet, brass, copper, jewelry, nazar bonjuks (evil eye beads), leather, silk, alabaster, antiques, faience (colored tile), and last but not least, kilims (woven mats). You can finds most of these goods throughout Turkey, however Istanbul has the most shopping venues. Istanbul is also the center of the leather trade and is the location of the Grand Covered Bazaar, which is the most famous place for shopping in Turkey. Misir Carsisi (The Egyptian Spice Bazaar) is the second largest covered bazaar in the city. As the name implies, you can find spices and medicines there as well as t-shirts and other goods. For silk, a trip to Bursa is a must because the city has been the center of the silk trade for hundreds of years.
Nightlife and the Arts
Due to its economic prosperity and growth, Turkish nightlife is becoming one of the liveliest in Europe. There are rave and techno nightclubs as well as traditional Turkish venues such as meyhanes, which are tavernas that serve beer, wine, mezes (starters), and raki (liquor). The most famous meyhanes are locted in the Cicek Pasaj in Beyoglu, Istanbul. Birahanes are similar to meyhanes but beer takes precedence over food. You will not find Turkish women at birahanes, however, foreign women are generally tolerated and are made to feel welcome, but it is advised that women not go to all-male venues alone. Other distinctly Turkish (or Middle Eastern) venues include Saz bars which feature live Anatolian folk music and a dance floor where you can join in on a simple folk dance called the halay. There are also, Oriental shows that feature belly dancers, Russian and Romania dancers, and cabaret singers. Beware of seedier venues that give you the dubious company of one of the girls on staff in exchange for watered down, expensive drinks. It is easy to spot such places because they feature neon lights and pictures of barely dressed women. These places have been known to rip off unsuspecting patrons, so when in doubt about the credibility of a bar, ask for the prices up front. If you would rather be seen at an elite nighttime venue, then Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara are a must. These bars and clubs are frequented by the young and upwardly mobile.
Istanbul has a lot of museums that can satisfy a range of tastes. The Archaeological Museum is home to the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great, and The Asiyan Museum is a must for lovers of poetry. There is a Calligraphy Museum, a Modern Arts Museum, a Fine Arts Museum, an Islamic Sciences & Technology History Museum, and even a Toy Museum.
Turkey has many English language papers (both print and online):
- Dunya Gazetesi
- Yeni Safak
- The Didymian
- Didim Today
- Land of Lights
- The New Anatolian
- Riviera News
- Turkey Herald
- Turkey Post
- Turkish Daily News
- The Turkish Herald
- Turkish Press
- Turkish Press Scanner
- Turkish On Air
- Vakit Gazetesi
- Yalcin Cakir haberler