Turkey zeroes in on the New Year
In a move that will sit well with the start of formal accession negotiations with the EU in a new era of low inflation, Turkey will start 2005 with a slimmed down New Turkish lira.
After 30 years of hyper-inflation, now tamed, the Turkish lira has in recent times been notorious as the world's most zero-laden currency. One US dollar, for example, was worth about TL1.5 million at the end of October and a pound sterling was fetching more than TL2.7 million. But it all ends on January 1 when the currency sheds six zeros to become the YTL – Y is for "Yeni" or "New" – Turkish Lira. A TL1 million bus ticket will become a simple YTL1 fare. A scarcely fathomable 2005 budget of TL153 quadrillion, 467 trillion will become a more manageable YTL153.4 billion.
The currency makeover also signals a return of the lira's subsidiary kurus denomination, which no-one under 30 remembers. The kurus – 100 of which make a lira – was last in use in 1975. But after January 1, it will be back and a loaf of bread at a state subsidized bakery will cost just 15 kurus.