Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the new symbol for the Turkish lira (TL) at press conference held with Central Bank Governor Erdem Başçı and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan on Thursday.
The symbol was selected from a contest which Erdoğan said elicited about 8,000 submissions. The prime minister said the introduction of the new symbol marks a new phase in the process to strengthen the lira.
In 2005, Turkey created a new currency, removing six zeroes from the old lira. Başçı also spoke at the meeting and said, “The idea for a contest came up when we were discussing ways to promote the Turkish lira, as is stated in the plan for 2011-2015.” He added, “The new sign was selected among 7 semifinalists out of a total of 8,362 applications that were submitted.” The governor also announced that Tülay Lale -- whose initials are even TL -- was the designer of the symbol. He indicated that the anchor shape of the design means the currency is a “safe harbor,” while two rising diagonal lines represent its rising prestige. He noted that faith in the Turkish lira has been rising in international markets and commented that “research conducted by the Bank for International Settlements [BIS] revealed that use of the Turkish lira tripled between 2007 and 2010, showing that the TL has been used for investments as well.” It has been suggested that holding down the “Alt Gr” and “T” buttons on the keyboard could be used to insert the symbol in computer applications. However the users should first install a relevant software they are required to download from Central Bank of Turkey’s website and select the font type ‘AbakuTLSymSans’ in their text processing programs. The meeting to announce the new currency symbol was originally planned for Feb. 22, but due to technical delays the meeting was put of until Thursday. The announcement created a major trend on twitter.com, where many people shared their opinions of the new symbol. These Twitter posts indicate there are mixed feelings in the country concerning the new symbol.
One user claimed the sign is an overlap of Erdoğan’s initials, RTE. Another joked about how the new currency symbol looks like the offspring of the euro and the British pound. Some conservatives have criticized it for looking similar to a cross. The symbol has been described as a fishing hook, a peg, a double-edged razor, an overhead antenna and the Titanic so far. However, there are also plenty of people who approved of the new symbol.
The redenominated lira, called the New Turkish Lira (YTL), was in circulation until Dec. 31, 2008. On Jan. 1, 2009, the word “new” was removed from the name. The lira, ranked by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s least valuable currency in 1995 and 1996 and again from 1999 to 2004, has stabilized against the US dollar and the euro in recent years. “We did not pay attention to pessimistic and negative comments and completed the process of removing six zeros with almost no problem. Our people and institutions quickly adapted to the new lira,” Erdoğan recounted at the news conference.