The lira, along with the related currencies
of Europe and the Middle East, has its roots in the ancient Roman
unit of weight known as the libra
which referred to the Troy pound
of silver. The Roman libra adoption of the currency spread it throughout Europe and the Near East, where it continued to be used into medieval times. The Turkish lira, the French livre
(until 1794), the Italian lira
(until 2002), and the British pound
(a translated version of the Roman libra
; the word "pound" as a unit of weight is still abbreviated as "lb.") are the modern descendants of the ancient currency.
The Ottoman lira
was introduced as the main unit of currency in 1844, with the former currency, kuruş
, remaining as a 1
subdivision. The Ottoman lira remained in circulation until the end of 1927.
First Turkish lira (1923–2005)
Both Livre Turque
(in French) and تورك لیراسی
(in Ottoman Turkish) phrases used on first-issue banknotes
After periods of the lira pegged to the British pound
and the French franc
, a peg of 2.8 Turkish lira = 1 U.S. dollar was adopted in 1946 and maintained until 1960, when the currency was devalued to 9 Turkish lira = 1 dollar. From 1970, a series of hard, then soft pegs to the dollar operated as the value of the Turkish lira began to fall.
The following are based on yearly averages:
- 1960s – 1 U.S. dollar = 9 Turkish lira
- 1970 – 1 U.S. dollar = 11.3 Turkish lira
- 1975 – 1 U.S. dollar = 14.4 Turkish lira
- 1980 – 1 U.S. dollar = 80 Turkish lira
- 1985 – 1 U.S. dollar = 500 Turkish lira
- 1990 – 1 U.S. dollar = 2,500 Turkish lira
- 1995 – 1 U.S. dollar = 43,000 Turkish lira
- 2000 – 1 U.S. dollar = 620,000 Turkish lira
- 2001 - 1 U.S. dollar = 1,250,000 Turkish lira
- 2005 – 1 U.S. dollar = 1,350,000 Turkish lira
The Guinness Book of Records
ranked the Turkish lira as the world's least valuable currency in 1995 and 1996, and again from 1999 to 2004. The lira's value had fallen so far that one original gold lira coin could be sold for 154,400,000 Turkish lira before the 2005 revaluation
Second Turkish lira (2005–present)
In December 2003, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey
passed a law that allowed for redenomination
by the removal of six zeros from the Turkish lira, and the creation of a new currency. It was introduced on 1 January 2005, replacing the previous Turkish lira (which remained valid in circulation until the end of 2005) at a rate of 1 second Turkish lira (ISO 4217
code "TRY") = 1,000,000
first Turkish lira (ISO 4217 code "TRL"). With the revaluation of the Turkish lira, the Romanian leu
(also revalued in July 2005) briefly became the world's least valued currency unit. At the same time, the Government introduced two new banknotes with the denominations of 50 and 100.
In the transition period between January 2005 and December 2008, the second Turkish lira was officially called Yeni Türk lirası
("New Turkish lira").
The letter "Y" in the currency code was taken from the Turkish word yeni
, meaning new
. It was officially abbreviated "YTL" and subdivided into 100 new kuruş
). Starting in January 2009, the "new" marking was removed from the second Turkish lira, its official name becoming just "Turkish lira" again, abbreviated "TL". All obverse sides of current banknotes
have portraits of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
. Until 2016, the same held for the reverse sides of all current coins
, but in 2016 one-lira coins were issued to commemorate the "martyrs and veterans" of the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt
, the reverse sides of some of which depict hands holding up a Turkish flag
while others show in stylized form a collection of five-pointed stars
topped by a Turkish flag.
From 1 January 2009, the phrase "new" was removed from the second Turkish lira, its official name in Turkey becoming just "Turkish lira" again;
new coins without the word "yeni
" were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 kuruş
and 1 Turkish lira. Also, the center and ring alloys of the 50 kuruş
and 1 Turkish lira coins were reversed.
A new series of banknotes, the "E-9 Emission Group" entered circulation on 1 January 2009, with the E-8 group ceasing to be valid after 31 December 2009 (although still redeemable at branches of the Central Bank until 31 December 2019). The E-9 banknotes refer to the currency as "Turkish lira" rather than "new Turkish lira" and include a new 200-Turkish-lira denomination.
The new banknotes have different sizes to prevent forgery.
The main specificity of this new series is that each denomination depicts a famous Turkish personality, rather than geographical sites and architectural features of Turkey.
The dominant color of the 5-Turkish-lira banknote has been determined as "purple" on the second series of the current banknotes.
The Turkish Lira has a history of accelerating loss of value relative to the Euro
, breaching the mark of five Lira per Euro in early 2018
In 2018, the lira's exchange rate accelerated deterioration, reaching a level of US$4.5/TRY by mid-May and of 4.9 a week later. Among economists, the accelerating loss of value was generally attributed to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
preventing the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey
from making the necessary interest rate adjustments.
Erdoğan, who claimed interest rates beyond his control to be "the mother and father of all evil", said that "the central bank can't take this independence and set aside the signals given by the president."
Despite Erdogan's apparent opposition, Turkey's Central Bank raised interest rates sharply.
In the campaign for the 2018 general election in Turkey
, a widespread conspiracy theory
claimed that the Turkish lira's decline were the work of a shadowy group, made up of Americans, English, Dutch and "some Jewish families" who would want to deprive incumbent President Erdogan of support in the elections.
According to a poll from April 2018, 42 percent of Turks and 59 percent of governing AK Party
voters saw the decline in the lira as a plot by foreign powers.Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu
claimed Trump's wish to let the current US-Turkish tensions to drag on to the November 2018 US elections
so to appeal to his Christian base and gain some points for his party.
As of 2020, the Turkish lira continued to plummet in value, with the currency going through a process of devaluation
, consistently reaching all time lows. The Turkish Lira deflated by over 400% compared to the US dollar
and the euro
since 2008, largely due to Erdogan's expansionist
Erdoğan has tried to fix the current finical crisis with unorthodox methods of banking.
The Turkish lira recovered partially throughout early 2021 with the government's rise of interest rates, until the currency began crashing though rapid stages of inflation
on March 21, 2021, after the sacking of Central Bank chief Naci Ağbal
. The Turkish Lira being one of the quickest collapsing currencies in 2021.
The current currency sign of Turkish lira was created by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey
in 2012. The new sign was selected after a country-wide contest.
The new symbol, created by Tülay Lale
, is composed of the letter 'L' shaped like a half anchor, and embedded double-striped letter 'T' angled at 20 degrees.
The design created by Tülay Lale was endorsed after a country-wide competition. It was chosen as the winner from a shortlist of seven submissions to the board of the Central Bank, selected from a total of 8,362 entries. The symbol resembles the first letter of the Turkish monetary unit L
in the form of a half anchor
with double stroke.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
announced the new symbol on 1 March 2012.
At its unveiling, Erdoğan explained the design as "the anchor shape hopes to convey that the currency is a 'safe harbor' while the upward-facing lines represent its rising prestige".
Faik Öztrak, vice chairman of the main opposition party CHP
, alleged that the new sign resembles the initials 'TE' of then-prime minister Tayyip Erdoğan in a reference to the tughra
The new Turkish lira sign was also criticized for allegedly showing a similarity with an upside-down Armenian dram sign
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Last edited on 7 May 2021, at 22:12
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