Today's Zaman, Turkey
June 1 2008

New exhibition documents history of Turkish currency

Yapı Kredi Bank is showcasing an exhibition exploring the
history of paper money in Turkey from the Ottoman Empire to the
present at the Yapı Kredi Culture Center`s Vedat Nedim
Tör Museum.

Titled `Ä°mparatorluktan Cumhuriyete KaÄ?ıt
Paranın Ã-yküsü' (The Story of Paper Money
from the Empire to the Republic), the exhibition in Ä°stanbul
showcases a number of very important collections of Turkish currency
and includes around 500 exhibits. The pieces on display come from the
private collections of Mehmet GacıroÄ?lu, Tunç
Buyurgan, Haldun Akayaz, Mehmet Tezçakın, Rıfat
Dönmez and Güçlü Kayral as well as the
Yapı Kredi Bank, Ottoman Bank Museum and Mint collections.

Curator Güçlü Kayral says everyone feels the urge
to hoard and that collectors simply act on this impulse in a more
systematic way, constructing a history. `This exhibition is a very
important chance for collectors to share their collections with
others. Thanks to the Mint manager, we had the chance to showcase
paper bills that had not been seen for ages,' Kayral told Sunday`s

Covering a period of 168 years, the exhibition sheds new light on
Turkey`s economic history. The most important pieces in the exhibition
are the Ottoman Empire`s first paper bills, released in 1840 to
finance the Tanzimat era reforms. Kayral explains that the bills on
display are the only remaining examples from this period in the
world. They were all written by hand in a special language used by the
Ottoman state and feature the sultan`s seal.

`During the Ottoman Empire, paper bills were always used as a way of
overcoming periods of crisis,' Kayral explains. `After some time new
bills were released for the Crimean War, then the 1893 war and then
World War I,' he adds. With the Crimean War came the empire`s first
foreign debt, which it was unable to repay.

In this problematic economic process, the absence of coins caused
serious problems, making it difficult for citizens to buy and sell
goods. They were thus forced to come up with their own solutions: In
the 1870s churches began to release their own bills in order to
collect money for candles and donations. After some time these became
commonly used, and then municipalities began releasing their own

There were also people who printed their own money when they needed
it. Enver Pasha released his own money during the Tripoli
campaign. Esat Pasha did the same in Albania. During World War I, the
British brought their own money, printed in both English and Ottoman
Turkish, to Gallipoli, because they were so confident of their
victory. Together with examples of the currencies mentioned above, the
exhibition also includes multilingual bills in Greek, Armenian, Hebrew
and Ottoman Turkish. The first bills of the Republican era, bearing
the image of Atatürk, just as today`s Turkish currency does,
and then later those with an image of President Ä°smet
Ä°nönÃ& #xBC; are also on display. One intriguing section
features a number of forgeries -- a problem as old as money itself.

Vedat Nedim Tör Museum Director Å?ennur
Å?entürk explains that in order to present the exhibition
to the public in the best possible way, they requested help from
people who knew the topic best. `Professor Ali Akyıldız
was our academic adviser on the history of the economy. We also
showcase his and Güçlü Kayral`s texts together
with the paper bills,' she noted.

`The Story of Paper Money from the Empire to the Republic'

Open weekdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and
Sundays 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. until Aug. 31.

Address: Yapı Kredi Kültür Merkezi,
Ä°stiklal Caddesi No. 161-161A, BeyoÄ?lu, Ä°stanbul


01 June 2008, Sunday

From: Baghdasarian