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The land

The European part, located in the extreme south-east of the Balkan Peninsula makes up less than one-thirtieth of the country’s total land area; Asian Turkey includes an arid steppe plateau, the mountains to the east, and a group of hills suitable for farming. Anatolia is a mountainous area with many lakes and swamps. The Ponticas range in the north and the Taurus range in the south form the natural boundaries for the Anatolian plateaux. The country is mainly agricultural. The lack of natural resources and absence of capital and appropriate infrastructure have been major obstacles to industrialization. Land use is arable, 36%; forest, 26%; pasture, 11%; and other, 26%.

Seed sector

Plant breeding

Plant breeding is performed by both the public and private sectors. Several public institutions are involved in plant breeding, including Çukurova Agricultural Research Institute (Adana); Mediterranean Agricultural Research Institute (Antalya); Aegean Agricultural Research Institute (Menemen-Izmir); Southern Anatolia Agricultural Research Institute (Diyarbakir); Eastern Anatolia Agricultural Research (Erzurum); Black Sea Agricultural Research Institute (Samsum); Trakya Agricultural Research Institute (Edirne); Geçit Kusagi Agricultural Research Institute (Eskinsehir); Forage Crops Research Institute (Yalova-Istambul); Vegetable Research Institute (Antalya); Agricultural Research Institute (Akçakale); Bahri Dagdas Winter Cereal International Research Institute (Konya); and the Maize Research Institute (Sakarya).

Variety release.

The official body for variety release is the Variety Release Committee composed of members of research institutes of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), Faculty of Agriculture, and Variety Registration and Certification Institute. The agency responsible for variety registration is the Directorate of Seed Registration and Certification Centre in Ankara.

Seed production.

Public and private seed production organizations are present, as well as multinationals (Pioneer, Cargill, CIBA-GEIGY, Sandoz, etc.). Among the public organizations, the most important are: TIGEM in Ankara (public sector); T.Z.D.K. in Ankara (public sector); and Antbirlik in Antalya (public sector).

Seed quality control.

MAFRA enforces seed law, since 1963. Seven official Seed Testing and Certification Stations are present in the country at Ankara, Gebze-Kocaeli, Izmir, Antalya, Içel, Diyarbakir, and Samsun. Seed testing is carried out according to ISTA Rules.

Seed processing.

Seed processing is performed by public (TIGEM, T.Z.D.K.) as well as private sector entities.

Seed marketing and distribution.

The seed producing organizations market their seeds through their own outlets and agencies. Seeds are transported mainly by trucks and other road vehicles. Seed production and marketing activities in the public and private sectors are based on a free market economy. Prices are not controlled. Trade in seed of foreign origin is subject to legal restrictions.


Demonstrations are conducted by the Provincial Seed Testing and Certification Stations and also private organizations, under farm conditions, for the promotion of new seed varieties.

Application of plant biotechnology

Plant biotechnology research began in 1973 at the University of Ankara and there are now 18 plant tissue culture laboratories in various Turkish universities and research institutions. Research at the University of Ankara is concerned mainly with the use of tissue culture techniques for breeding vegetable crops and propagating fruit and vine. Other research concerns biological control of plant pests by Bacillus species. Research in the Horticulture and Plant Production Departments of the University of Çukurova concentrates mainly on in vitro propagation of plants such as banana, citrus, tea, artichoke and strawberry, but also on haploid plant production and the production of pathogen-free plants.

Other research includes: the use of anther and meristem cultures for propagating potatoes and tobacco (University of the Aegean); in vitro vegetative propagation of 13 crops (Institute of Aegean Agriculture Research); research related to early detection of plant pathogens using immunological technique (Institute of Tubitak Gebze Research for Basic Sciences); and genetic variation in barley callus culture (University of Istanbul). Major advance have been made in the production of haploid lines using anther culture in pepper and tobacco, and in the commercial application of tissue culture technique in plant propagation and pathogen elimination by the Horticulture Research Centre of the Ataturk Institute, where virus-free strawberry plants have been produced. Two private companies have commercialized in vitro propagation of ornamental plants. Cooperative arrangements between different Institutions in Turkey and international organizations have resulted in collaborative projects on: virus-free citrus plants; establishing and promoting new biotechnological techniques; breeding through gynogenesis, performed by the University of Çukurova in cooperation with the French Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA).

Plant genetic resources

The institution involved in germplasm collection is the Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute, Aegean Agriculture Research Institute (AARI), Menemen, Izmir, dealing with: Cicer spp., Lens culinaris, Vicia faba, Phaseolus vulgaris, Phaseolus coccineus, Phaseolus spp., Pisum, Vigna, Avena spp., Hordeum spp., Oryza sativa, Secale spp., Aegilops spp., Zea mays, Abelmoschus esculentus, Allium spp., Raphanus sativus, Brassica spp., Capsicum annuum, Citrullus spp., Cucumis spp., Cucurbita spp., Lycopersicon lycopersicum, Solanum melongena, Daucus carota, Lactuca spp., Spinacia oleracea, and Beta spp.

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