Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay on Tuesday said all Syrians could receive free health services in public hospitals regardless of whether they are being accommodated in refugee camps or live in cities using their own means, Today's Zaman reported.
Speaking to reporters in Parliament, Atalay shared information on the recent situation of refugees fleeing from war-torn Syria to take shelter in Turkey.
More than 150,000 refugees have been accommodated in Turkey and live in camps in border provinces. Turkey has also provided medical treatment to thousands of wounded, including opposition fighters battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Atalay noted that in addition to those who are in refugee camps and enjoy free health care at public hospitals, other Syrians who came by their own means and chose to live in apartments in cities in southern Turkey could also benefit from free health services in state hospitals.
In response to a question, Atalay denied news reports that said epidemics were rife in refugee camps where Syrians are being accommodated.
"There is no such thing. The health services are working fine. There was one problem, but it has been solved. It was related to the health care of Syrians residing in several Turkish provinces. They can now also turn to public hospitals [to receive medical treatment]," Atalay said.
Turkey has been pursuing an "open-door policy" and receives hundreds, sometimes thousands of newcomers from war-torn Syria every week. In addition to the registered Syrian refugees, there also tens of thousands of Syrians who have settled in Turkey using their own means.
Turkey is growing wary of the prolonged war in neighboring Syria as a high number of new refugees has strained the capabilities and resources of the country. Along with humanitarian concerns, Ankara also faces new security challenges across the volatile border and has invited NATO to install a Patriot missile system to beef up its security.
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