Turkey has been providing cutting-edge, cost-free stem cell treatment to otherwise dying refugees and underprivileged people at a time when most countries do not even allow them to cross their borders.
The cost of the treatment used to cure blood and bone marrow related diseases can run up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in the U.S. and Europe.
Bashar Qabas, a 23-year-old Syrian refugee, is getting treatment for cancer at a hospital in the Turkish capital Ankara.
He recalls being in shock for weeks after a missile hit a spot close to his house in the Syrian city of Aleppo in late 2013.
"It began as a small lump in my neck followed by deteriorating eyesight before I was informed I am suffering from cancer," he said.
Doctors in Aleppo were about to transfer him to a hospital run by the Syrian regime, but he insisted on getting treatment in Turkey.
"Thank God, the doctors here in Ankara didn't ask me to pay a single Turkish lira in exchange for medical treatment. They have conducted more than five operations on me, all of which were for free," said Qabas.
He said he was moved by the warm welcome he received.
"The interesting thing here, which I was not expecting, is the way the Turkish doctors dealt with me while I was getting medical treatment. I did not feel like a foreigner or refugee at all. I am telling myself that thank God my legs brought me here to Turkey. If I stayed in Syria or went to another country, I would have died of cancer," he added, expressing his thankfulness for the Turkish doctors.
Afghan teenager finds hope in Turkey
Not only Syrian refugees, but refugees from around the world have been receiving treatment and social services in Turkey. Sakhidad Abdulsattar, an Afghan citizen of Uzbek descent from the northern province of Jowzjan, got sick when he was 17 and found a cure for his unforgiving aplastic anemia in Ankara after a strenuous four months of stem cell treatment and years of regular treatment.
Sakhidad remembers those days with both agony and joy.
After he was diagnosed with anemia, he was first transferred to Pakistan for treatment due to the lack of advanced facilities in Afghanistan.
When the hospitals in Pakistan told him about the high cost his treatment, approximately $400,000, the poor family had to look for other solutions for their son. They contacted the health ministry in Afghanistan to refer his case to Turkey, a country that is, Sakhidad said, "associated with hope and freedom" in his war-torn country.
The whole family was ecstatic when the Turkish Health Ministry as well as the ministry in charge of family and social services accepted him as a patient 27 days after his application.
Sakhidad said his "hopeless body suddenly filled with joy and hope of recovery."
"Turkish doctors are amazing. They never ever discriminate," he said, adding that they learned what humanity meant when they came to Turkey.
Cancer treatment and especially stem cell research has been one of the fastest growing medical practices in Turkey in the past decade, with the number of stem cell transplants rising from approximately 200 or so two decades ago to over 4,600 annually.
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