US warns Turkey over failure to pay foreign healthcare debts

International healthcare companies are struggling to reclaim around $2.3bn in debts owed to them by Turkey’s state hospitals, a senior US official has revealed, as he warned of the dangers posed to the Turkish economy by an unpredictable investment environment.

David Satterfield, the American ambassador to Ankara, said that the non-payment of money owed to pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies from the US and elsewhere had become a “significant issue” in trade relations between his country and Turkey.

Mr Satterfield said that US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross had last year been given assurances by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his son-in-law, finance minister Berat Albayrak, that the outstanding dues — at the time totalling $230m — would be paid.

One year on, he said the Turkish government had asked the companies to accept “a range of very significant reductions in the amount owed”, a sum he said had now snowballed to $2.3bn.

“There will be a consequence to non-payment of debt or to demands that companies accept a reduction in the total for equipment and services provided,” Mr Satterfield warned during an online event hosted by the American-Turkish Council, a business group.

“Companies will consider departing the Turkish market or will reduce their…

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