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Turkey’s health minister slams US envoy’s remarks

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SAMSUN, Turkey

Turkey’s health minister on Friday criticized “unfortunate” remarks by the US Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield about Ankara’s pharmaceutic debt to American pharmaceutical companies. 

Fahrettin Koca was responding to Satterfield’s comments Wednesday when he said American pharmaceutical companies could leave Turkey if Ankara did not pay its pharmaceutic debt.

“Companies will consider departing the Turkish market or will reduce exposure to Turkish market,” he warned.

Koca told reporters in the Black Sea province of Samsun that university hospitals and ministries are working to solve the old payment problem related to medication and medical supplies.

“It was requested to make a payment plan by scheduling the debts until today. Talks on this have also started. I want to say that there is no problem with medication in general, and talks about supplies have also started,” he said, stressing that Turkey is in discussions with the companies about the process.

“During this period, when the relevant companies are being negotiated, when a payment plan are being requested, the ambassador’s statement in this way was extremely unfortunate,” he said. “It reminds me of the approaches in the colonial countries. I want to remind that they should know that Turkey is not like before.”

*Writing by Seda Sevencan

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