The Erdogan government has invested more than USD30,000 million in the medical tourism in Turkey over the last ten years. The number of men traveling to Turkey to hair implants increases every year. The complete package (travel, surgery, luxury hotel, airport shuttle service, and some sightseeing), is cheaper than the surgery itself in any other detitanation in Europe.
Other patients go looking for cancer treatments, many of them being Russian and Iraqi. The Turkish health system is also famous for its pediatric treatments and organ transplants. For one kidney, a foreigner pays between 30,000 and 35,000 US dollars, while a liver transplant can reach up to 90,000 US dollars (about 72,000 euros) if the procedure is performed in a private hospital.
An ethics committee oversees the process and receives the organ. It is only to perform a kidney or liver transplant to foreign patients if they are accompanied by their donor. “They have to come with their own donor, who has to be a family member up to the fourth degree of consanguinity, and then convince the ethical board that there is no monetary transaction in the middle, nor pressure of any kind,” says Emin Çakmak, chairman and founder of the Turkish Healthcare Travel Council (THTC).
The council expects to reach one million patients in 2019, and up to 2 million by 2023. In 2016, following a report of this organization, over 750,000 patients that arrived from 144 different countries were treated, and projected an income of almost USD6 billion for the Turkish economy.