A History Of Currency In Turkey

Did you know that the history of currency in Turkey dates back thousands of years? From the ancient Lydians to the modern Turkish Lira, the evolution of money in this beautiful country is a fascinating journey. Explore how coins and banknotes have played a crucial role in Turkey’s economy throughout different eras, and discover the unique stories behind each currency. Uncover the secrets of the Ottoman Empire’s currency system and the transition to the modern banking era. Embark on a captivating exploration of Turkey’s monetary history, where money tells tales of power, culture, and national identity.

A History Of Currency In Turkey


Welcome to a comprehensive article on the history of currency in Turkey. In this article, we will take a journey through ancient times, exploring the various forms of currency that were used, and learn how these have evolved over the centuries. From the introduction of coins in Lydia to the hyperinflation of 2001 and the subsequent reforms, we will delve into the fascinating world of Turkish currency. So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover the rich history of money in Turkey.

Ancient Times

Hittite Currency

Our journey begins in ancient times with the Hittites, who inhabited the region of Anatolia around 1700 BCE. Although the Hittites did not have a formal currency system, they engaged in a barter economy, where goods and services were exchanged directly, without the use of any standardized medium of exchange. This system relied on the exchange of commodities such as grain, livestock, and textiles to facilitate trade.

Lydia’s Introduction of Coins

It was in Lydia, around the 7th century BCE, that the first coins were introduced. The Lydians, an ancient civilization in western Anatolia, set the stage for a revolutionary change in the way transactions were conducted. These early coins were made of electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. They were stamped with standardized designs to signify their value and authenticity, a major breakthrough in the evolution of currency.

See also  A Guide To Heirloom Seeds And Traditional Agriculture In Turkey

Byzantine Era

Byzantine Coinage

With the fall of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire rose to power in the region, and its currency system played a significant role in trade and commerce. Gold, silver, and copper coins were minted, with the gold solidus becoming the most widely used currency. The Byzantine Empire’s currency system set a precedent for stability and monetary standardization.


The solidus, introduced by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century CE, became the cornerstone of the Byzantine monetary system. It was made of pure gold and maintained a consistent weight and purity throughout its existence. The solidus remained in circulation for over eight centuries and became a symbol of financial stability and the empire’s prosperity.

Ottoman Empire


With the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the 13th century, a new chapter was written in the history of Turkish currency. The akçe, a silver coin, became the dominant currency during this period. Akçes were minted in various denominations, allowing for easier exchange and trade within the empire.

Silver Coins

In addition to the akçe, the Ottoman Empire also introduced various silver coins. These coins, known as altın, were made of 100% silver and were widely used for commerce in the empire. The Ottoman monetary system remained stable for centuries, facilitating the flow of trade both within the empire and with its trading partners.


In the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire adopted the kuruş as its primary currency. The kuruş was a smaller denomination coin made of silver and copper, allowing for more flexibility in everyday transactions. This change in currency reflected the empire’s modernization efforts and its integration into the global economy.

Paper Currency

Towards the end of the Ottoman Empire, paper currency began to be introduced. The first paper money, known as “kaime,” was issued in 1840 to stabilize the currency and facilitate trade. However, due to political and economic instability, the value of the paper currency fluctuated greatly, leading to a loss of confidence in the financial system.

See also  The Top Podcasts About Turkey For Enthusiasts

A History Of Currency In Turkey

Turkish Republic

Turkish Lira

With the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, a new currency was introduced – the Turkish lira. The lira, derived from the Latin word “libra,” meaning “pound,” symbolized Turkey’s modernization efforts and its move towards a more stable and independent economy. The Turkish lira became the official currency of the newly formed republic, replacing the Ottoman currency.

Currency Reforms

In 1926, as part of the currency reforms, the Ottoman lira was replaced by the new Turkish lira. The new currency had a fixed exchange rate and was backed by gold reserves. This move aimed to stabilize the economy and restore faith in the Turkish financial system.

Turkish Inflation

Hyperinflation of 2001

In recent history, Turkey faced a severe economic crisis in 2001, marked by hyperinflation and financial instability. This crisis resulted in a sharp decline in the value of the Turkish lira, causing significant economic hardships for the Turkish people. The government implemented stringent measures and entered into a program with the International Monetary Fund to overcome this crisis.

Recent Developments

Introduction of New Turkish Lira

In 2005, a new currency, the New Turkish Lira (TRY), was introduced as part of the government’s efforts to combat inflation and stabilize the economy. The new currency had a fixed exchange rate to the Euro, symbolizing Turkey’s aspirations to join the European Union.

Design Changes

Over the years, the design of Turkish currency has undergone various changes. From updated security features to the inclusion of historical figures and important landmarks, these design changes reflect Turkey’s rich cultural heritage and modern identity.

Current State

Today, the Turkish lira remains the official currency of Turkey, with the New Turkish Lira (TRY) as its subunit. Despite challenges and fluctuations in the past, the Turkish economy has shown resilience and growth, attracting foreign investment and contributing to the country’s development.

See also  The Most Instagrammable Places In Turkey

Banking and Financial Systems

Central Bank of Turkey

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) plays a crucial role in managing monetary policy and ensuring the stability of the Turkish lira. Established in 1930, the CBRT regulates the country’s banking system, oversees financial stability, and controls the issuance of currency.

Modern Banking System

Turkey’s banking system has undergone significant reforms over the years, aligning with international standards and best practices. Today, a robust and modern banking system provides a wide range of financial services to individuals and businesses, facilitating economic growth and development.

Currency Exchange

Foreign Exchange Market

The foreign exchange market in Turkey enables the exchange of currencies for various purposes, including trade, tourism, and investment. It is a vital component of the country’s economy, ensuring the smooth flow of international transactions.

Currency Conversion Services

To cater to the needs of tourists and foreign visitors, currency conversion services are widely available in Turkey. Banks, exchange offices, and other financial institutions offer convenient and reliable options for exchanging foreign currency into Turkish lira.


As we conclude our journey through the history of currency in Turkey, we can appreciate the significant transformation the country’s monetary system has undergone. From the barter economy of ancient times to the introduction of coins, the stability of the Byzantine solidus, the evolution of the Ottoman Empire’s currency system, to the modern Turkish lira, Turkey’s currency has played a pivotal role in its economic development. While challenges such as inflation and financial crises have emerged along the way, the Turkish economy has proven its resilience and continued growth. Today, with a robust banking system, a well-managed Central Bank, and a modern currency exchange market, Turkey stands as a vibrant player in the global financial landscape.