Lira, lira, on the wall

New symbol for Turkish liraActually, the new symbol for the Turkish currency might be a little bit off the wall, if you ask some folks:

The symbol — a double-crossed, T-shaped anchor — is intended to mean “safe harbor” says Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The upward-facing crosses symbolize Turkey’s growing economic clout, he added.

Which it didn’t have during the days of inflation, and later hyperinflation, where 1 lira was worth 100 kuruş and 1 kuruş was worth nothing. In the middle 1970s, I spent a year in Turkey at the behest of NATO. At the time, the exchange rate was 14 lira to the dollar. Thirty years later, it was 1,339,000 lira to the dollar. In 2005, the Central Bank of Turkey established a New Lira, worth a million of the old.

No one’s complaining about the revaluation, but the symbol has drawn some heat:

Not everyone welcomed the new symbol. The main opposition Republican People’s Party said the icon had been made in the initials of the prime minister, raising questions over the bank’s independence from government.

“The final point of the Central Bank’s independence has been to make Tayyip Erdoğan’s initials the symbol of our currency,” said the party’s economics and fiscal policy deputy chairman, Faik Öztrak.

Mr Öztrak didn’t mention, though perhaps he could have, that the new symbol looks vaguely like the symbol for Armenia’s dram — upside down.

(Via QA Hates You.)


  1. CT »

    8 March 2012 · 7:09 am

    Also has a vaguely Christian Cross look. Curious for an aspiring Muslim powerbroker. Also curious for an aspiring EU state, which, if achieved (highly doubtful), will wind up adopting the euro anyway. Curious all the way ’round.

  2. McGehee »

    8 March 2012 · 8:35 am

    It could be worse. Nobody tell them the cross-arms look just a little bit like the Orthodox cross favored in <whisper> Greece. </whisper>

  3. hatless in hattiesburg »

    10 March 2012 · 3:21 am

    as far as the mark itself is concerned, i like it, as it echoes the yen & euro double-barred-letter concept.

    plus, flipped vertically, it wouldn’t be out of place on a foghat t-shirt :D

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