The unit of Turkish money is
the Turkish Lira (Türk
Lirası, TL or TRY). On 1 March 2012 a unique symbol () was introduced by the Turkish Central Bank to denote the Turkish Lira.
Banknotes are in
denominations of TL1 (rare), 5, 10, 20,
50, 100 and 200 liras.
is divided into 100 Kuruş (koo-ROOSH),
with coins in
denominations of Kr1, 5, 10, 25 and
50 (Kuruş) and TL1. More...
the current exchange rate for the Turkish Lira.
Where to Obtain Liras
It's usually best to obtain
your Turkish liras in Turkey rather
than before you leave home, as the exchange
rates outside Turkey are usually
not as good as those inside the country.
easiest way to get cash liras is
to stick your home bank card or credit
card into a Turkish
ATM (bancomat/cashpoint, cash
can exchange foreign-currency
cash at a Currency
Exchange Office (Döviz
Bürosu). Note that exchange rates at international airports in Turkey are usually less good than rates in city centers. More...
Credit and debit cards are widely used in Turkey, but there are special situations you must know about. More...
Travelers Checks are a bother, and not recommended. More...
When to Use Cash Liras
Although some large travel
expenses such as hotel rooms and
car rentals may be denominated in US
dollars or euros, they may also be
denominated and paid in Turkish
Some establishments offer discounts for payment in cash (because then they need not pay a percentage to the credit card company).
When paying with foreign
currencies, euros are
most readily accepted, US
dollars are good, UK
pounds sterling are
accepted in some places, but no
Scottish notes! Other currencies should be exchanged at currency exchange offices. More...
Should you carry a lot of cash? That's up to you. Except for pickpockets, Turkey is a relatively safe country, but nowhere is completely safe. I would say the chance of loss is remote if you carry your stash underneath your clothing in a waist belt, neck pouch, etc. Most hotel rooms of 3 stars or more have small private safes in their guest rooms for valuables. More...
Small Notes, Big Notes
people in Turkey will not accept
large bills/notes for small payments,
so it's good to juggle your TL cash-on-hand
you always have some smaller amounts.
Get in the habit of paying with bills/notes
that are about equal to
twice the amount you're
paying (so pay for a TL23
meal with a TL50
note, which gives you TL27
in change). If you give notes that
are three times or more than the
price, you're liable to get a dirty
look and a request for smaller notes.
Lira, not Lire
Lira (LEE-rah), from the Latin libra pondo ("a pound by weight"), is the name of Turkey's currency.
In Turkish, lira is used for both singular and plural amounts: TL1 = bir lira; TL5 = beş lira.
Lira was also the name for Italy's pre-euro currency. The Italian plural of lira is lire, but this is Italian, not Turkish. (In Turkish, the former Italian currency is the liret, lee-REHT.)
In English, the usage is lira and liras: TL1 = one lira; TL5 = five liras.
Old Liras, New Liras
From 2005 through 2008,
Turkey's currency was called the New
Turkish Lira (Yeni Türk
or TRY). In 2009, new
banknotes were introduced. More...
As of January 1, 2009, the
"New" (Yeni) has
been dropped. The currency is again
simply called the Turkish Lira, although the international 3-letter sign (ISO 4217) continues to be TRY. Here's
how the 2009-series notes/bills
pre-2005 Turkish Lira notes and coins and
2005 to 2008 New
Turkish Liras have
been withdrawn from circulation. TL1.00
is equal to (old, pre-2005) TL1,000,000
In other words, a million old liras
equals one new lira, but you
should not accept old pre-2005 liras
or 2005 to 2008 New Turkish Liras! More...
century ago, one Ottoman Turkish
lira was worth US$5 (and that
$5 was worth about US$100 in today's
—by Tom Brosnahan