Discover the rich history of the Turkish Lira that’s brimming with memoir and adventure. Like many banknotes around the world, the Turkish currency overflows with extensive history and antiquity.

Old Turkish Lira

The Ottoman Empire issued currency between 1844 and 29 October 1923 but was eventually withdrawn from circulation in 1927.
After the currency of the Ottoman Empire was withdrawn, the first Turkish currency was introduced after replacing the Ottoman Lira on the 5th of December 1927.

1 Livre Turkey’s Banknote P-119a, 1927

Citadel of Ankara

The first Turkish Lira features one of Turkish capital’s oldest sights and some may say Turkeys most significant piece of history, the Citadel of Ankara. Overlooking the city at its perch, the castle is shrouded with mystery as the exact date of its early construction is unknown. There is much debate over weather the Hittites (an ancient empire that ruled Anatolia in 1600) truly built the immense architecture or if it was one of the many other different civilizations that occupied the great city such as the Byzantine, Ottoman, Phrygia, Arab, and Persian. Either way, the great structure has been able to stand perched over the historical city for many decades.

Ankara Castle, Ankara capital city of Turkey/Muratart

1,000,000 Turkish Lira

In 1995, the beautiful 1,000,000 Turkish Lira was circulated featuring Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, also known as Mustafa Kemal Pasa. Born in 1881, Atatürk was a reformer, author and revolutionary statesman who became the first president of the Republic of Turkey. Atatürk’s first order of business as president was to modernize the country by establishing a policy of state secularism, giving women the right to vote, and a multitude of other new laws to advance the country. His bravery and progressiveness helped reform the Republic of Turkey to what it is today.

Turkey 1,000,000 – 1000000 Million, 1995, P-209, UNC, Prefix-M

New Turkish Lira

One of the most popular and fascinating notes today is the 1 Lira from 2005. Because the first Lira was eliminated by excessive inflation, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey passed a law that allowed the redenomination by the removal of six zeros from the Turkish currency. This created the new Turkish Lira (Yeni Türk lirası). In 2005, banknotes were launched in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 new Turkish currency. Like the 1995 1,000,000 Lira, the 2005 1 currency features Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as well. Highlighting claret red and blue hues, the back of the note accents the Atatürk Barajı (Atatürk dam) in Şanlıurfa. Originally Karababa Dam, it was renamed in honor after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and is depicted on the reverse of the 1995 1,000,000 Lira and the new 2005 1 Turkish Lira.

Turkey 1 Lira Banknote, 2005, P-216, UNC

2 thoughts on “The History of the Turkish Lira and New Turkish Lira

  1. Mikey

    Well, after some time, different currencies become obsolete and no longer regarded as a valid payment method. They are more like a collectibles. This is the story of Turkish lira. A few years ago, Turkey went from the old lira to the new one and suspended the conversion in 2015. Oftentimes people keep small, obsolete currency as a souvenirs.

    Fortunately, people can now exchange old foreign currency for some cash and it is pretty easy. If you discover an old lira in your attic, you can sell it and get some money back. There are plenty of reliable dealers willing to buy your banknotes or coins at competitive rates.

    1. Banknote World Post author

      Thanks for commenting Mikey. You are right, over time they can become collectables for some people or even souvenirs as you stated. Pretty neat we get to hold on to a small piece of history. Thanks for sharing! (:


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