In Diyarbakır, the inability to speak Turkish has hindered many Kurdish women, especially those in rural areas, from accessing cancer diagnosis services. The SES survey involving 347 elderly Kurdish women revealed that 58% were unable to benefit from these services, often requiring male family members to accompany them, creating discomfort and hindering effective communication with doctors.
KETEMs were established by the Turkish Health Ministry’s Public Health Directorate Cancer Department, with the aim of “reaching women in even the most remote villages for cancer-free living”.
Additionally, an 84 year old Kurdish woman in Istanbul was denied medical treatment at a hospital due to the lack of Kurdish interpreters, despite her son’s offer to translate. This incident at Fatih Sultan Mehmet Education and Research Hospital highlights the broader issue of language barriers in Turkish healthcare affecting the Kurdish population.
Furthermore, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca faced criticism for excluding Kurdish from the E-Reçetem online prescription service. Despite the presence of Kurdish-speaking citizens, the service offers other languages catering to health tourism, disregarding the linguistic rights of millions of Kurds in Turkey. This decision was condemned by various groups, including the HDP and SES, as it overlooks the healthcare needs of the Kurdish community.