Turkish Lira

Turkish Lira is the official currency for Turkey and Northern Cyprus. Even if you will be able to find many vendors who accepts other common currencies like US Dollars, Pounds and Euros in touristic destinations, sooner or later you are going to need Turkish banknotes and coins at some point. 

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey has the exclusive privilege on issuing banknotes while carrying a dominant role in nationwide monetary policies.

Turkish Lira is not just a currency for many people. In Turkish culture, it has a national meaning like our national flag. Tearing a banknote and drawing figures on it have a good chance to be taken as a disrespectful behaviour against the country. In addition to the public sensitivity, Turkish laws, which also made me put “specimen” text on the banknote images, strictly forbid such actions. 

Turkish Lira Symbol

Although Turkey currency has had a symbol for a short time since 2012, I think it hasn't become very popular among people. I see some retail shops use it but the majority of people seem to follow the traditional representation of Turkish Lira which is simply “TL”.

Turkish Lira SymbolSymbol for Turkish Lira

In spoken and written Turkish, all currency symbols – including Turkish Lira symbol - are put after the numbers, unlike in English. It is always “15 TL – 15 Lira”, “10 $ - 10 Dollar” or “5 € - 5 Euro”. The units are always in singular form when mentioning prices.

Turkish Banknotes

There are 6 face values on Turkish banknotes in circulation. The banknotes of Turkish currency and some of their physical properties are as follows;

5 Turkish Lira5 TL, 63x130 mm, Light Brown
10 Turkish Lira10 TL, 64x136 mm, Light Red
20 Turkish Lira20 TL, 68x142 mm, Light Green
50 Turkish Lira50 TL, 68x148 mm, Light Orange
100 Turkish Lira100 TL, 72x154 mm, Light Blue
200 Turkish Lira200 TL, 72x160 mm, Light Purple

When accepting a banknote, you need to be careful about its condition. It may be old and worn off but it should be a whole banknote without any missing or torn parts. Pencil marks and any other drawings should be avoided as well. These conditions carries risk to be rejected by the vendors. If you have any in your wallet and nobody wants to take it, you can ask a bank to replace it with a new one. They will probably do it for free. 

Old Turkish Lira BanknotesOld Turkish Lira

Due to high inflation, Turkish currency used to have a lot of zeroes and the prices were all in terms of millions. In 2005, 6 zeroes were removed and Lira becomes less frightening for the foreigners. 

Today old banknotes with millions are completely off the circulation and have no value in the market. If you have any of them and planning to use it in Turkey, don’t bother.

Turkish Coins

1 Turkish Lira is equal to 100 Kurus. The abbreviation for kurus is “krs” and they all are available as coins, not in banknotes. There are 6 different coins; 1 Krs, 5 Krs, 10 Krs, 25 Krs, 50 Krs and 1 TL.

1 and 5 kurus are the least used coins. It didn’t take so long that the inflation melt them during the past few years. But you will probably become familiar with the others when you are shopping.

Coin, 1 Krs
Coin, 5 Krs
Coin, 10 Krs
Coin, 25 Krs
Coin, 50 Krs
Coin, 1 TL (100 Krs)

If you are from a Euro zone country, you need to be careful about coin valued 1 TL. It can be easily confused with EUR 1 in shape and colour. A Euro is roughly equal to 3 Liras at the time of writing. So try not to be one of many people I know who spend Euros instead of Liras. 

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