Turkish health spending for Syrians at $100 million
A Syrian woman begs with her children downtown Istanbul on July 16. AFP Photo / Bülent KılıçThe Turkish government has announced that from 2011 to 2013 it spent 209 million Turkish Liras, or nearly $100 million, on health treatments for Syrians who have fled to Turkey from the civil war in their country.
In response to a parliamentary question from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu said 11,656 Syrians were treated at Turkish hospitals last year. This figure increases to 16,542 since April 2011, when the civil unrest in the country first began to heat up.
The total health spending on Syrians was 208.8 million liras, excluding 2014.
Syrians were treated at hospitals in 49 provinces across Turkey, with border province Şanlıurfa topping the list with 3,038 people and Istanbul following with 2,539. No figures were reported from Hatay, Kilis or Kahramanmaraş, despite the fact that these host large numbers of Syrian refugees.
Some 7,629 of all those who received treatment were treated at state-run hospitals,
Müezzinoğlu also ruled out claims that hospitals were running out of capacity for Turkish citizens due to the high number of injured and ill Syrians.
He added that a capacity increase was planned for the provinces of Kilis, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa.
According to official figures, the number Syrians who have fled to Turkey so far has exceeded 1 million, with hundreds of thousands staying at camps across the country and hundreds of thousands more heading to large cities, where many live on the streets.