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The potato (Turkish: patates) has a long history in Turkey, having been introduced to Anatolia and the Black Sea Coast from the Caucasus in the early 19th century (Haverkort, 1981). Local varieties in some areas are still known as ruskartoe, as a linguistic reminder of their origin (Haverkort, 1981). A second introduction to the western provinces occurred 75-100 years later from the Balkans. In these western villages potato is still called Kumpir, after the Yugoslavian name Krompir (Haverkort, 1981). In 1872 the Ottoman government began active encouragement of potato cultivation near Adabazar to meet the demand in Istanbul and reduce imports from Malta and Odessa (Laufer, 1938). In 1976, the National Potato Program was established to improve production through research and extension. Today, Turkey is by far the largest producer of potatoes in the Middle East with 1985 production estimated at 2-3 times that of its major regional competitors, Iran and Egypt. Average regional yields vary from 8-12 t/ha in Anatolia and the Black Sea Coast to 18-20 t/ha along the Aegean and Mediterranean Coasts (Gomec, 1977).

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