Health Care Reforms in Turkey – 2: “İstanbul Right-to-Health Assembly founded against AKP’s attacks on health services”

As part of our responsibility of providing English information on Turkey with a political perspective that is compatible with our stance, we start a series of translations of news items and articles on the transformations in the health care system in Turkey. The first item in this series discussed the overlooked effects of the reforms. This second news item (“AKP’nin sağlığa saldırılarına karşı İstanbul Sağlık Hakkı Meclisi kuruldu”), published in the soL news portal on February 28th, gives a flavor of the steps taken by the opposition movement against these policies.

Medical employees and the people came together gathered to fight against AKP’s health reforms. Several organizations gathered today [February 28th] to declare the foundation of The Right-to Health Assembly of Istanbul. The Grand Right-to-Health Assembly of Turkey will be founded on March 11th.1

The medical employees and the people are gathering to fight against AKP’s reforms on and the privatization of the health care system. Today [February 28th], The Right-to-Health Assembly of Istanbul organized a public meeting to declare its foundation.

Each step of the health care services have been commercialized.”

In the opening speech, Prof. Dr. Taner Gören (Turkish Medical Association – Istanbul branch) stated that the health services are given to the hands of the capital by the AKP government. He pointed out that the first step of health care is completely commercialized by the introduction of Family Health Centers and Family Practice Centers. Highlighting that these practices resulted in a decrease of quality, he added “Only two physicians are employed in these Family Practice Centers, they are considered to be supermen and made to do all kinds of work.”

We came together to stop the new General Health Insurance policy.”

After Gören’s opening, Ersoy Adıgüzel (Confederation of Public Laborers’ Unions, Istanbul Branches Platform) read out the declaration of foundation on behalf of the supporter organizations and told that with the participation of trade unions, public laborers’ unions, professional chambers, political parties, consumer associations, village societies, the unemployed, the women and the youth will come together to stop the new General Health Insurance Policy.

Everyone is included in the GHI except the MPs.

In addition to the struggle lead by medical professional chambers and health laborers’ unions, we, the representatives of the millions of patients, are determined to claim our rights to health.” said Adıgüzel, and emphasised that by January 1st, 2012 everyone was imperatively included in the new GHI mechanism but the MPs and the members of the Supreme Court were excluded.

Remarking that the medical examination contribution fees and the medicament contribution margins are constantly increasing, Adıgüzel added that now everybody will have to pay an extra 35 TL contribution for the health services. He emphasized that with this regulation every citizen will be debted to the state, and reminded that the lower limit for it is determined to be an monthly income of 295 TL which cannot be considered as the starvation line, not to mention poverty line.

He finished the declaration by announcing that with the foundation of “The Grand Right-to-Health Assembly of Turkey” in Ankara on March 11th, the people who defend their health and labor will confront those who want to sell out the rights for health.

Many organizations support the cause.

Some of the organizations who take part in The Right-to-Health Assembly of Istanbul are as follows: Istanbul Medical Chamber, Istanbul Pharmacists Chamber, Istanbul Dental Chamber, The Chamber of Veterinary Surgeons – Istanbul, Confedaration of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DISK), Confedaration of Public Laborers’ Unions (KESK) – Istanbul Branches Platform, Confedaration of Turkish Trade Unions (Türk-İş) 1. Region Branch, Union of Chamber of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) Istanbul Provincial Coordination Council, Health and Social Service Employees Union (SES), Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP), The Community Centers (Halkevleri), Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), Labour Party (EMEP), Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), and Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Association.



1  We will translate their declaration as part of our article series.
Ege M. Diren

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