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TRY - Turkish Lira

Turkish Lira Converters

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The Turkish Lira is the official currency of Turkey as well as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (which is only recognized by Turkey). The Lira's currency code is TRY while the symbol or sign is . One Turkish Lira unit is sub-divisible into 100 smaller units known kurus, so the smallest unit of Turkish currency is the kurus, abbreviated as Kr.

Economic brief

Turkey's economy is well advanced with the world Bank classifying it as an upper-middle income nation based on per capita GDP. According to Forbes Magazine, Turkey produced 35 billionaires in its 2014 list of the world's richest. The country's central bank is known as The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey and is responsible for managing/controlling the currency.

While Turkey has had its fair share of chronic inflation, it has never experienced hyperinflation.


Soon after the collapse of the final presence of the Roman Empire that resulted from the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman's, The Turkish State Mint which still exists up to date was established by Mehemed II. The first ever golden coin was minted in 1467 in the “name of The conqueror”. The word lira was first used by the Ottoman Empire in 1844, coining the currency term Ottoman Lira. The Ottoman Lira continued in circulation until early 1920s when it was officially replaced by the Turkish Lira which continued to circulate as a coin.

The Imperial Ottoman Bank soon introduced paper money with a range of denominations from 5 to 5000 kurus. The 'kurus' would soon be overtaken by the lira with denominations ranging from 5 to 1000 liras. Later, the 50,000-lira banknote was introduced to help solve the small money problems especially associated with 1 and 2.5 `kurus`.

The notes initially carried the picture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the country's first president and national hero, until his death in in 1938 when President Ismet Inonu's picture took over. Ataturk's picture was reintroduced again in the 1950s.

Introduction of 'New Turkish Lira'

The Turkish Lira (using symbol TL) acted as Turkey's currency until 2005 when the New Turkish Lira (Yeni Türk Lirası – YTL or TRY) was introduced, dropping six zeros from the old banknotes as they introduced the new notes and coins.

The word 'New' was later dropped and the currency again became the Turkish Lira in 2009, effective January 1 of the year. This is also the year that the 200 Turkish Lira banknote was introduced to the market. 1 Turkish Lira notes were dropped while the coins followed the same logic and assumed the simple name Kuruş (KR) instead of Yeni Kuruş (YKR) as they were previously referred to.

The 'New Turkish Lira' banknotes were officially withdrawn from circulation on January 1, 2010, with a provision that they can be redeemed at Central Bank branches countrywide for a period of 10 years counting from January, 1, 2010, until the end of working hours on December 31st 2019. Otherwise the 'New Turkish Lira' banknotes will officially become worthless starting January 1, 2020.

Chronic Inflation

Turkish currency suffered turbulence in the period running from 1970s to around 2004. This duration was characterized by chronic inflation, recessions (1994 &amb; 1999) and the banking crisis of 2001. The Turkish lira depreciated chronically during this time against other world currencies.

A good example of the magnitude of troubles that the currency underwent is best demonstrated by the value of the lira against the US dollar by 2004. In this year, a whooping 1,350,000 worth of Turkish liras was equivalent to 1 US dollar compared to 1966 for instance when just 9 liras made 1 US dollar.

Inflation was terribly high, sometimes hitting as high as 70%. The exchange rate was not any better either. The situation got so horrible to extreme levels such that the country had no option than to introduce notes with bigger denominations every two years starting 1981.

The condition of inflation was so dire that in the years 1995, 1996 as well as 1999 -2004, the lira was ranked as the world’s least valuable currency by the Guinness Book of Records.

Recovery & Stabilization

Sensing danger, the Turkish government decided to act on the situation and prevent it from getting worse. A plan was laid down to deal with the runaway inflation. The government introduced tougher regulations that saw the banking sector operate under strict controls among other measures like reissuing the currency.

The steps taken by the government finally bore fruit, effectively bringing down the rate of inflation and stabilizing the currency.

By May of 2014, Turkey's Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation stood at 9.66% while 2.13 Turkish liras were equivalent to 1 US dollar on June 27, 2014.

As of today, the Turkish lira is a strong currency that indeed ranks as one of the strongest in the world, or so when weighed against the US dollar.