The Turkish lira is the legal tender in Turkey, a currency which has suffered many devaluation processes all along its history. Proof of this is that the Guinness Book of Records classified it as the world’s least valued currency on two occasions: between 1995 and 1996, and from 1999 to 2004.
Origins and history
The Turkish lira was introduced for the first time as the official currency of Turkey in 1844. It replaced the kurus which was in circulation at the time and became a subdivision of the lira
From 1844 to 1881 the lira was based on two systems: it was worth 6.61519 grams of pure gold or 99.8292 grams of pure silver, but from 1881 to 1914 the gold standard was adopted. During the First World War Turkey abandoned the gold standard and the lira went on losing value until 1920.
After various periods of fixation to the pound sterling and the French franc, in 1946 the lira was fixed to the US dollar on an exchange rate of TRL 2.80 = USD 1, a parity maintained until 1960, when the currency was devalued to 9 liras to a dollar. After 1970 the lira continued losing value on a long succession of exchange rates.
As a consequence of Turkey’s chronic inflation from the 1970s to the 1990s, the lira suffered a severe devaluation. The ottoman country had high inflation rates compared to other developing countries, but had never suffered hyperinflation yet.
In the last years the Turkish lira managed to stabilize and even gain some value compared to the dollar or the euro. The Guinness Book of Records classified the Turkish lira as the world’s third less valued currency from 1995 to 1996, and again from 1999 to 2004. In 2005, after another devaluation of the Turkish lira, the New Turkish lira was issued, which was in circulation until 1 January 2009, when it was again renamed as “Turkish lira”.
Current Turkish lira Coins and Banknotes
Currently there are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 lira banknotes and 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 kurus coins (100 kurus make up one lira) and 1 lira coins.
Click here for more information on the security of Turkish lira banknotes and coins. (Interesting facts of the new Turkish lira).
Interesting facts of the new Turkish lira
- The banknotes of 5 and 50 liras are very similar.
- The name “lira” was first used by the Ottoman Empire, in 1844.
- The new banknotes show the picture of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, and the reverse, depending on the note’s denomination, you may see the İshak Paşa Palace near Doğubeyazıt, in Ephesus, Cappadocia, the map of Piri Reis, The Mausoleum of Atatürk and the Atatürk Reservoir dam, which was part of the GAP National Hydraulic Project in Şanlıurfa.
- The 1 lira coin has a diameter of 26.15 millimetres and a thickness of 1.95 millimetres, and a weight of 8.5 grams, dimensions similar to those of a 2 euro coin.