There has been some talk for the last couple of years about Turkey introducing compulsory state health insurance. We have been keeping an eye on developments, at times it seemed we would be allowed to join, at times it appeared not, at times there were rumours it would be compulsory. From our perspective it seemed a fairly good scheme one that we would be willing to join as and when we either could or had to.
Because it was unclear whether we could join or not and we were both aware that we need health insurance of some sort we took out a local private scheme. We knew that we may end up being doubly insured and that we may at a future point leave the private scheme. We may well keep the private scheme anyway since it gives health insurance when travelling outside of Turkey and now that we are living here we are not, when visiting the UK, really entitled to NHS outside of emergency care.
More recently matters came to a head, with as usual a great deal of uncertainty and confusion, and in various discussion places a great deal of rhetoric. We were about to get copies made of various documents and shove them into a file with various other notarised and translated documents, and head off to the SGK office in Tire. The plan being to attempt to join and see what happened.
Now it (quoting the words of the British Embassy in Ankara) appears we do not have to. The Embassy has given guidance that it appears that once a non-Turkish resident completes one year of residence in Turkey, they must apply to join the scheme. We note the word appears with interest, but for now are going to take it at face value and at the same time continue to monitor for future developments.