THE MANDATORY health cover element for foreign residents living in Turkey for more than a year could be reversed, the head of the country’s SGK has said.

Ilhan Gokalp, the head of the Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu (SGK), is reported to have suggested the compulsory health cover option for those living for more than a year in Turkey between the ages of 18 and 65 will be lifted.

His comments were reported in the Millyet Newspaper and later picked up by the Turkish website reporting for the country’s accountancy industry.

The address highlights several points that will have to be ratified by the Turkish parliament on the early retirement of 300,000 Turks.

However, in the very last paragraph, it was noted that those foreign residents that have been living in Turkey for more than a year would be given the choice of whether they wanted to continue with health cover or not.

At the moment, health cover – either SGK or private health insurance is compulsory – certainly as part of the residence permit process.

However, it does not go into any further detail as to when it might be implemented or the ins and outs of the proposal.

The full text of the paragraph in Turkish reads: “Ulkemizde biy yildan cok ikamet eden yabancilardan zorunlu olarak GSS primi (aylik 250 lira gibi) odemeleri uygulamasina da son veriliyor. Bundan boyle sadece isteyen yabanaci GSS primi odeyecek.”

Which essentially translates back as “There’ll be an end to the compulsory SGK for foreigners that have lived here for more than one year. From now on only those who want to will pay SGK.”

This would potentially reverse the mandatory nature of health cover for foreigners even though that is presently required as part of the new residence permit application. From the full text of the report, it suggests this will have to be ratified by Parliament before it becomes live.

The health cover applies to those up to the age of 65 and became mandatory with the advent of the new application process for the foreign residence permit in April 2014. It is not compulsory for those to have health cover over the age of 65.

In 2010, attempts were made for all foreign residents living in Turkey to sign up to universal health insurance. That was subsequently dropped, but then re-instigated as part of the new residence permit process.

Read the full transcript of the report.

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