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Turkey to import potatoes from Syria in attempt to push down prices

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Turkey is allowing potato imports in limited quantities from Syria in an attempt to offset skyrocketing domestic prices, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci announced on Wednesday, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

“We are allowing limited potato imports from parts of Syria where Turkey has undertaken military operations. These imports will account for only 1 percent of demand, which is around 400,000 tons. We are importing potatoes from Syria in Turkish lira. This will play a key role in pushing down prices in the domestic market,” Zeybekci said during a press conference in Ankara.

In an effort to curb prices, the government last week decided to allow potato and onion imports in restricted amounts from some countries.

In Istanbul, the cost of one kilogram of onions has risen 212 percent to TL 6.5 ($1.50) over the past month. One kilo of onions sold for around TL 1.3 last June. Potato prices also rose to as high as TL 6 ($1.40) in June, a 94 percent month-on-month increase. One kilo of potatoes was priced at TL 1.5 a year ago.

Officials predict that potato prices, which were at TL 3 as of June 27, will drop between TL 1.5 and TL 2.5 in July as new imports arrive.

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