Turkish doctors set record for emigration applications in September

The number of applications to the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) for the “certificate of good conduct” required by doctors to work abroad reached a record-breaking 321 in September.

Duvar English

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) announced that 321 doctors in September applied for “certificate of good conduct” which is required to work abroad.

The total number of applications reached 1,649 in the first nine months of 2023.

“We know that one of the main causes of the emigration of doctors is violence and we are raising the struggle for effective legislation against violence in healthcare field and for safe and healthy workplaces,” the TTB noted. 

The significant increase in the number of applicants for a certificate of good conduct over the last decade indicates a growing trend of physicians emigrating, according to online news outlet Diken.

In 2012, only 59 doctors applied for a certificate of good conduct. The numbers gradually rose with 90 applicants in 2013, 118 in 2014, and a notable increase to 245 in 2016.

Starting in 2017, there was a rapid surge in applications. The numbers continued to climb with 482 physicians in 2017, 802 in 2018, 1057 in 2019, 931 in 2020, and a substantial 1405 in 2021, demonstrating a clear upward trend. Last year, 1341 general practitioners and 1344 specialists applied for the certificate.

Doctors are seeking destinations such as European countries, Canada, the USA, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. 

Not only those working in the public sector or at universities, but also self-employed physicians prefer to work abroad due to the increase in cases of violence against physicians and poor working conditions.

Due to the deepening economic crisis, doctors have been experiencing troubles to access the necessary materials particularly in public hospitals.

At the same time, doctors who are currently working have to see record numbers of patients because of the dwindling number of practitioners.

In March, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had commented on the exodus of doctors leaving Turkey, saying “If they can leave, let them leave.” In the face of a huge reaction against these remarks, Erdoğan later changed his tune, saying that Turkey “needs” its doctors.