It is thought that the Greek island of Samos, very close to the Turkish mainland, is where the ugly celeriac first grew. On that island, fossil remains of celeriac were found in a grove sacred to the goddess Hera created in seventh century BC. We’re entitled to speculate that the warriors on both sides of the Trojan War were eating it. Homer writes in The Iliad that the horses of Achilles’ soldiers were eating what we assume were wild celeriac leaves.
In Turkey, celeriac is better known than celery (which tends to appear mostly as sticks in bloody marys). It’s often cooked with sour apples, but I agree with the Ottoman cooks in preferring to use quince if it’s in season.