The role of the European Union accession process for the right to health in Turkey in the post-reform period
Üstünes, Benal Nazlı
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Since the initiation of the Health Transformation Programme in 2003 a series of reforms in health and social security systems have been realized in Turkey. An examination of the official documents related to these reforms in light of the international right to health documents reveals that the former is coherent with the latter, at least ostensibly. Considering the influence of the EU accession process on Turkey as a candidate country, especially in issues concerning human rights, one may expect to see a push from the EU in the issue of health, as well. However, an examination of the EU‟s demands in the accession documents concerning the health care system, reveals that EU does not have a strong human rights emphasis in health-related issues, especially before 2003. Interestingly, a right to health sensitivity in the accession documents begins to be observed after 2003, namely the iv initiation of the Health Transformation Programme. This shows that right to health is not something the EU ignores, but it hesitates to put concrete demands concerning it, be it because of the principle of subsidiarity, or the second class position the Union attributes to economic and social rights vis-a-vis civil and political rights. Whatever the reason is, the question whether the EU accession process has a role in the right to health sensitivity of recent health reforms in Turkey, can be answered negatively based on the accession documents.