Well, I have been counting the value of my Turkish lira from my second trip there in 1993, thirty years to the month after my 18-month Air Force assignment. I now think I should have invested in Turkish towels or Turkish delight or something other than cash. I have a million lira note and a 500,000 lira note. Together, back in the early 1960s when I was first in Turkey with the Air Force, the exchange rate for nine lira for one dollar. At that rate these two bills would have been worth $166,666.66 back them.
I looked up the history of Turkish inflation and by 2004 one U.S. dollar would have exchanged for 1,350,000 lira. On January 1, 2005, the government dropped six zeros and came out with the “new lira.” I understand that the government continues to accept the old lira. The problem is that the exchange rate for the old lira to U.S. dollars is 1,000,000 to one.
Although I might convince someone in the United States that I could be a millionaire, the dollar value of my two big bills in Turkey is now a dollar and a half. A million is not a big as it once was.
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