Libyans’ stay in Turkish hospitals open up debate
Erdem Güneş ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Ahmet Ali Khut, a Libyan veteran who took part in the uprisings against the Gaddafi regime is currently staying in Istanbul’s German Hospital.Turkish doctors have treated thousands of Libyan patients in Turkey in the last six months, and the uncertainties regarding their stay in Turkey led to questions.
According to official numbers provided by the Libyan Embassy, Turkish hospitals have been home to about 8,000 patients so far.
While many of these patients are Libyan veterans who joined the uprising against the Gadhafi regime, there are also regular patients looking for a cure in Turkey.
“I was shot in my right foot but I waited for [Moammar] Gadhafi’s death to come here for treatment in a Turkish hospital,” said Faraj Mousa, a 27-year-old soldier who was studying aircraft engineering in northern Libya’s Benghazi province before the rebellion against Gadhafi’s regime started.
Mousa stays at the Taksim German Hospital in central Istanbul, one of the many private hospitals serving Libyan patients, where 3,500 Libyans underwent treatment for 6,500 implementations so far, according to numbers given by the hospital.
Gülhan Karaca of Universal Hospitals Group, which owns the Taksim German Hospital, told the Hürriyet Daily News that the group has hired 25 translators as well as some doctors who can speak Arabic.
“There was one rebel soldier who was imprisoned in Libya for two years in a dungeon before he came to Turkey. We also provide psychological support due to these kinds of poor conditions they have been through,” Karaca said and added that they were having trouble with some of the patients.
“Some of the soldiers, whose treatments have been completed, still want to stay in the private hospitals for free and they force the Libyan consulate officials to sign their certificate that approves their treatments,” she said, adding that some Libyans “raided the consulate to get those certificates several times.”
The healthcare expenses of Libyan citizens also stirred a debate. According to the numbers provided by the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), Turkey has covered medical expenses of 575 Libyan citizens and 274 companions.
Other expenses are being covered by Libya, but high prices are a source of complaint.
A commission for health from the Libyan Embassy has been holding talks with Turkish officials over the high prices and medical issues, a Libyan official said.