The Turkish Health Ministry has chosen to open the doors of its hospitals and medical facilities through a new regulation that took effect in late October 2014 that now allows the legal practice of 14 different “alternative medicine” therapies. Each is listed with descriptors in this article. Among these are many widely known: acupuncture, phytotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy. Others less so: apitherapy, leeches, wet cupping, larval therapy, prolotherapy, reflexology and ozone therapy. The nation’s social security system will not cover the costs of such care, leading already to a debate about whether there is justice in a nation legalizing practices that may only be available to a financially better-off subsection of citizens. States one attorney: “The regulation creates inequalities. Only those with deep pockets can benefit from [those treatments in] hospitals. The ministry wants to regulate those ancient treatments, but poor citizens are again left in the hands of incompetent people who have little knowledge of alternative medicine.” This is Turkey’s first systematic legal treatment of “traditional and complementary medicine.”
Comment: The Global Integrator contacted Kaleem Ullah Rajput, MD, an associate professor for “CAM and Integrated Medicine” at Medipol University Hospital in Bagcilar, Istanbul. Rajput, who also serves as the general secretary of the British Cupping Society, shares that the work in Turkey preceding the 14 separate recognitions was engaged in each care through a distinct medical society. Rajput was a leader in the cupping society’s work. He notes that the decisions of these societies regarding training standards and certification are “rarely contradicted by the Health Ministry.” He believes that in “8-9 areas quality programs of education are in place.” In response to a question, Rajput stated that while historically such practices have only been open to medical doctors and dentists, the new rules create opportunities for other practitioners.