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Money in Turkey - Guide for Tourists


Page update - Apr 6, 2023

What do tourists need to know about Turkey's currency? What are the features of Turkish coins and banknotes? What are the current exchange rates? How is it indicated in exchange offices and on price tags in stores? Read the answers on this page, as well as the history of the currency, interesting facts, and whether it is real to get an intersting commemorative coin.

Important! At the time this page was updated (April 2023), the Turkish currency is falling rapidly. Now the USD/TRY exchange rate has already reached 19.3 lira per dollar. In such a situation, always double-check the current rate when exchanging money. And don't be surprised that the prices of all goods and services in Turkey are now rising very fast.

The latest interesting news

In 2022, a very interesting new commemorative coin of 1 lira was released. This coin commemorates the opening of the Canakkale Bridge (the bridge opened on March 18, 2022) which became the longest suspension bridge in the world with a span of 2,023 meters.

The coin is beautiful and colorful. Now this coin is in free circulation. The printing is quite large - 5 million copies. If you receive such a coin for change or at an exchange office, be sure to keep it as a souvenir.

Turkey's currency

The currency of the Republic of Turkey is the "Turkish lira" (Turkish: "Türk lirası"). 1 lira is divided into 100 "Kurush" (Turkish: "Kuruş"). This currency is also used in self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Another name for the currency is "New Turkish Lira" ("Yeni Türk lirası") but since 2008 the name has not been used officially. If there is a new one, it means there was an old one. The history is very interesting, but we will tell you about it in the second part of our review.

Designations

The graphic symbol was not adopted until 2010. At that time, a competition was announced and 8,362 applications were submitted. The winning logo is by Ms. Tulay Leyl. According to her idea, the currency symbol resembles an anchor from a combination of the letters "T" and "L". The two stripes are at an angle of 20 degrees. The anchor symbolizes stability, and the two stripes represent Europe and Asia, because the country of Turkey has territories on both continents.

Symbol ISO4217 official code Everyday sign Old code (2005-2008)
TRY TL YTL

Current exchange rates

See the current exchange rates to the US dollar, UK pound, Euro and other currencies in the table below:


Exchange rates at 17.06.2024

1 Turkish lira = 0,0305 US dollar
1 Turkish lira = 0,0240 UK pound
1 Turkish lira = 0,0285 EURO
1 Turkish lira = 0,0419 CAN dollar
1 Turkish lira = 0,0462 AUS dollar
1 Turkish lira = 0,0498 NZ dollar
1 Turkish lira = 2,5509 IND rupee
1 Turkish lira = 0,0272 Swiss francs
1 Turkish lira = 0,2215 Chinese yuan
1 Turkish lira = 4,8122 Japanese yen

1 US dollar = 32,7869 Turkish lira
1 UK pound = 41,6667 Turkish lira
1 EURO = 35,0877 Turkish lira
1 CAN dollar = 23,8663 Turkish lira
1 AUS dollar = 21,6450 Turkish lira
1 NZ dollar = 20,0803 Turkish lira
1 IND rupee = 0,3920 Turkish lira
1 Swiss francs = 36,7647 Turkish lira
1 Chinese yuan = 4,5147 Turkish lira
1 Japanese yen = 0,2078 Turkish lira

Currency exchange in Turkey

To find out where and how to change US dollars, UK pounds, Euros to liras, and at which resorts you can pay in dollars and euros, read our detailed review "Currency exchange in Turkey".

The name

Like many names of currencies in Europe and the Middle East, the name "lira" is a derivative of the Roman "libras". It was the Roman measure of silver used throughout the ancient world and into the Middle Ages, 1 libra = 328.8 grams of silver.

The names of currencies came from the name "libra": "lira" (former in Italy, present in Turkey, former in Israel), "livre" (in France till 1797). Naturally, the name has nothing to do with the musical instrument of the same name.

Banknotes

Turkey is currently using banknotes of the 9th series (E9) which have been in circulation since January 1, 2009. Fortunately, the banknotes of the previous E8 series are already completely out of circulation. Tourists have no danger of getting an illiquid banknote.

If you receive an E8 banknote in some incredible way, then you can keep it as a souvenir. You could still exchange them at the bank until December 31, 2019, but not anymore.

An important point! There are now officially TWO 5 lira banknotes in circulation in Turkey - the first is brown, the second is purple. The color has been changed since April 2013. Why? Probably to avoid confusion with the 5 lira E8 banknote. As a result, it's quite possible to get two different colored 5 lire bills when exchanging or taking change. Don't be surprised, this is normal.

Turkish currency banknotes have different colors and sizes, which is convenient.

5 lira banknote

Color: brown or purple. Attention! Two types.

Size: 130x64 mm (5.12x2.52 inches).

The front side depicts Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

On the reverse side: the historian of science Aydin Sayili, the model of the atom, DNA, the model of the solar system.

10 lira banknote

Color: red.

Size: 136x64 mm (5.35x2.52 inches).

The front side depicts Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

On the reverse side: the mathematician Cahit Arf and his famous formula.

20 lira banknote

Color: green.

Size: 142x68 mm (5.6x2.68 inches).

The front side depicts Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

On the reverse side: architect Mimar Kemaleddin, Gazi University building in Ankara, geometric figures symbolizing architecture.

50 lira banknote

Color: orange.

Size: 148x68 mm (5.83x2.68 inches).

The front side depicts Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

On the reverse side: the writer and fighter for women's rights Fatma Aliye Topuz, flowers and books.

100 lira banknote

Color: blue.

Size: 154x72 mm (6.06x2.83 inches).

The front side depicts Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

On the reverse side: musician and composer Buhurizade Mustafa Itri, musical instruments and sheet music.

200 lira banknote

Color: lilac.

Size: 160x72 mm (6.3x2.83 inches).

The front side depicts Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

On the reverse side: poet and mystic Yunus Emre, the building of his mausoleum, roses, pigeons.

Coins

The coins were issued in 2008 and were put into circulation on January 1, 2009. No changes have been made to them since then.

1 kurush coin

Diameter: 16.5 mm (0.65 in), thickness: 1.35 mm (0.053 in), weight: 2.2 g (34 gr).

Composition: 70% copper, 30% zinc.

On the obverse: face value, year of issue, star and crescent moon, snowdrop flower.

On the reverse: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the inscription "TÜRKİYE CUMHURİYETİ" ("Republic of Turkey").

5 kurush coin

Diameter: 17.5 mm (0.69 in), thickness: 1.65 mm (0.065 in), weight: 2.9 g (45 gr).

Composition: 65% copper, 18% nickel, 17% zinc.

On the obverse: face value, year of issue, star and crescent moon, symbolic "tree of life".

On the reverse: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the inscription "TÜRKİYE CUMHURİYETİ" ("Republic of Turkey").

10 kurush coin

Diameter: 18.5 mm (0.73 in), thickness: 1.65 mm (0.065 in), weight: 3.15 g (49 gr).

Composition: 65% copper, 18% nickel, 17% zinc.

On the obverse: face value, year of issue, star and crescent moon, the Rumi pattern.

On the reverse: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the inscription "TÜRKİYE CUMHURİYETİ" ("Republic of Turkey").

25 kurush coin

Diameter: 20.5 mm (0.81 in), thickness: 1.65 mm (0.065 in), weight: 4 g (62 gr).

Composition: 65% copper, 18% nickel, 17% zinc.

On the obverse depicts: face value, year of issue, star and crescent moon, kufic ornament.

On the reverse: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the inscription "TÜRKİYE CUMHURİYETİ" ("Republic of Turkey").

50 kurush coin

Diameter: 23.85 mm (0.94 in), thickness: 1.9 mm (0.075 in), weight: 6.8 g (105 gr).

Composition: the rim of 65% copper, 18% nickel, 17% zinc; the central part of 79% copper, 17% zinc, 4% nickel.

On the obverse: face value, year of issue, star and crescent, the Bosphorus Bridge.

On the reverse: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the inscription "TÜRKİYE CUMHURİYETİ" ("Republic of Turkey").

1 lira coin

Diameter: 26.15 mm (1.03 in), thickness: 1.9 mm (0.075 in), weight: 8.2 g (126 gr).

Composition: the rim of 79% copper, 17% zinc, 4% nickel; the central part of 65% copper, 18% nickel, 17% zinc.

On the obverse: face value, year of issue, star and crescent moon, the Rumi pattern.

On the reverse: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the inscription "TÜRKİYE CUMHURİYETİ" ("Republic of Turkey").

History in brief

The "Turkish Lira" currency was introduced in 1923 with the establishment of the Turkish Republic. Prior to that the "Ottoman lira" was in use in the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, the Ottoman currency existed in the form of gold (lira) and silver (kurush) coins, and those coins were used as the legal means of payment until the 1970s.

Initially, the Turkish lira was pegged to the British pound and the French franc. In 1946, the rate was pegged to the U.S. dollar at a ratio of 1 dollar = 2.9 lira.

The Turkish currency turned out to be in constant fall. By 1960, the dollar was worth 9 lira, 1980 it was 90 lira, 1988 it was 1,300 lira, 1995 it was 45,000 lira, and by 2002 it was 1,600,000 lira. The Turkish lira has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most devalued currency twice, from 1995 to 2006 and from 1990 to 2004.

In the early 2000s, everyone in Turkey was a millionaire and most were billionaires. There was no place for zeros on the coins, so they wrote "100 bin lira", i.e. "100 thousand lira". Some of our tourists who were in Turkey before 2005, remember Turkish banknotes with 6 or 7 zeros, some still have them as souvenirs.

In 2005, the Turkish authorities carried out the denomination (reduction of 6 zeros), the decision was made in December 2003 by the Turkish National Assembly. It was carried out in a complicated way. First, in 2005, they introduced a currency called "new Turkish lira" ("Yeni Türk lirası") without six zeros. Then in 2009, the currency was renamed simply "Turkish lira" and all banknotes and coins were completely replaced.

Crisis 2018

The Turkish economy has always developed in a very extreme way. Turkey's budget has a record deficit, and Turkish banks and companies operate on the principle of "taking more money from someone else and building on it". Overall, this strategy is paying off, because Turkey, which does not have great natural resources, has a GDP of about 850 billion US dollars (by the end of 2022).

By the end of 2017, the debts of the state, banks and private companies had reached record numbers. Political instability has further turned investors and creditors away from Turkey. In May 2018, the Turkish currency plummeted from 4.5 to 7 liras per dollar. Then there was a partial recovery.

The consequences for the country were very unpleasant. But for tourists, the fall in the exchange rate was even to their advantage. Prices for tours and hotel rooms went down. As a result, 51.9 million tourists visited Turkey in 2019. Such a record result was achieved precisely because of the cheapness of the lira and, as a consequence, Turkey's tourist product.

In 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began, the lira began to fall again. Apparently, the government was desperately short of money and once again turned on the printing press. As a result, by June 2021 the lira dropped further to 8.7 and continued to fall.

Currency Crisis 2021 and 2022

This is the prolonged fall on the Turkish currency, which began in September 2021. The exchange rate (USD to TRY) rose from 8.5:1 to 18.5:1 in about 1.5 years. As of the time this page was updated (April 2023) this crisis continues. When will it stabilize? No one knows.

Commemorative coins

In 2015 and 2018 a series of 30 commemorative coins of 1 kurush was issued. You should agree that it is a rare phenomenon when commemorative coins of minimum denomination are issued. These coins have a diameter of 32 mm (1.26 in) and weigh 12 grams (185 gr), which means they are much larger in size than the usual 1 kurush coin and even larger than the 1 lira coin. It is impossible to find such coins in circulation, they have long been sold as collector coins.

Also from 2009 to the update of this page, 24 commemorative 1 lira coins have been issued. This is the so-called "animal series", which means that different animals are depicted on the reverse of the coins. These coins have exactly the same dimensions as the regular 1 lira coin. You can find them in circulation, but very-very-very rarely. If you find such a coin in your purse, then take it for yourself, it costs now from 1 to 12 dollars at online auctions, and every year it only grows in price.

From 2012 to 2022, 8 commemorative coins worth 1 lira were issued. These coins are rare, and if you get one, take it as a souvenir or for resale.

The 1st commemorates the Chamber of Accounts, the 2nd commemorates the 10th International Turkish Language Olympiad, the 3rd commemorates veterans and victims of July 15, 2016, the 4th commemorates the transition to the presidential system, the 5th commemorates 100 years of the Grand National Assembly, the 6th commemorates the transition of St. Sophia to mosque status, the 7th commemorates 100 years of Gaziantep, the 8th commemorates the opening of the Çanakkale Bridge.

There are also collector coins - bronze, silver, gold. In all, about 100 kinds of different denominations, from 2.5 to 200 lira. Many of them can be found in souvenir stores. But it is not advisable to buy them, as they are usually much cheaper on the internet auctions.

Important to know

- What are the current expenses on vacation with All Inclusive and without, read our review "How much money to take for Turkey;

- About what souvenirs and gifts to spend Turkish liras, prices and choice, read our review "What you can bring from Turkey".

Have a good holiday in Turkey, and read our interesting pages about this country (find the list of the pages below).

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