Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he advised President Obama on healthcare reform after some American tourists told him to broach the subject with our commander in chief.
Hurriyet Daily News reported that Erdoğan was speaking at a new healthcare complex in Ankara today when he said he counseled Obama to look to the Turkish model and craft healthcare reform — though there wasn’t an indication of when this conversation took place.
“Once I attended the Friday prayer at the Sultanahmet Mosque [Blue Mosque in Istanbul]. There were tourists. Some of them knew that I would be visiting the United States the following week. They asked me how we could be so successful in healthcare and wanted me to tell about it to Obama,” Erdoğan said today, according to Hurriyet.
“Indeed, I then talked about the issue with Mr. Obama. Of course, the negative reflex there [in the U.S.] made it really hard for Mr. Obama,” he said, adding that Obama thus “could only solve the problem partly.”
Erdoğan said European countries interested in revising their own healthcare systems visit, “try to take us as a model and build similar systems in their country.”
“Don’t we have any deficiencies? We do, but now we are on the right path to success,” he said.
The State Department tells travelers to Turkey that “care provided in Turkish hospitals varies greatly,” with modern facilities in larger cities while “some still may be unable to treat certain serious conditions” and “certain medications are difficult to obtain in Turkey.”
Erdoğan, the founder of the ruling Islamist AKP party in Turkey, has historically been buddy-buddy with Obama, who has called the Turkish leader “an outstanding friend.” His campaign logo last summer even ripped off Obama’s. The two have quipped about sharing parenting advice during their meetings as they both have daughters.
But Erdoğan told reporters last month that the world is jealous of him now, so much so that he’s longer as tight with Obama as he once was.
“When you look at people, there is no loneliness. There might be as far as leaders are concerned, but that is the result of jealousy and nothing else,” Erdoğan said, according to Al-Monitor.