Banknote Characters on E9 Emission Group Turkish Lira Banknotes

The privilege of issuing and circulating banknotes was granted to the CBRT by the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye. The Turkish lira banknotes feature some historical characters that have contributed to the cultural and social life of the country.

The E9 Emission Group banknotes, which were put into circulation on 1 January 2009, feature the following characters: 


Aydın Sayılı (1913-1993) - 5 Turkish liras

Professor Aydın Sayılı was born in Istanbul in 1913. Upon Ataturk’s wish, Dr. Sayılı entered the Ministry of Education’s scholarship examinations, passed, and went to the USA to receive a master’s degree in History of Science at Harvard University.  After studying at reputable universities such as Columbia and Cornell, he received a PH.D. from Harvard in 1942.  This title, to the best of our knowledge, was the first doctoral degree given in the area of history of science. Prof. Sayılı returned to Türkiye in 1943 after completing his studies in history of science at Harvard.

He became the corresponding member of the International Academy of the History of Science in 1957. In 1961, he became an effective member of the academy, where he served as Chairman for three years between 1962 and 1965. Prof. Sayılı, who became a lecturer at the Faculty of Languages and History-Geography in Ankara University in 1946, served as the Head of Department of Philosophy between 1974 and 1983. In 1984, he became the president of the Atatürk Culture Center, an affiliate of the Atatürk Supreme Council for Culture, Language, and History, and retired from this position in 1993.

Having gained a very important place in his field with his works that shed light on the history of medieval science, Aydın Sayılı was also awarded the Copernican Medal by the Polish government in 1973, the TÜBİTAK Service Award in 1977 and the UNESCO Prize in 1990. 


Cahit Arf (1910-1997) - 10 Turkish liras

Born in 1910 in Thessaloniki, Cahit Arf received his Ph.D. from the University of Göttingen in 1938. Having lectured at the Faculty of Science of Istanbul University in 1962, Prof. Arf taught mathematics at Robert College and became the Science Branch Director of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TUBITAK-The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye) in 1964. 

Arf gave lectures as a visiting professor at the University of California for a while, and then joined the Middle East Technical University (METU). After his retirement, Cahit Arf continued his studies at the Gebze Research Center of TUBITAK. He was the president of the Turkish Mathematical Society from 1985 to 1989. 

Arf earned a worldwide reputation for his achievements in algebra, particularly his work on solving synthetic geometry problems with the help of a ruler and compass. Like other prominent mathematicians, he has given his name to features of the field such as the “Arf Invariant” of quadratic forms, “Arf Rings” and “Arf Closure”. 


Mimar Kemaleddin (1870-1927) - 20 Turkish liras

Kemaleddin was born in 1870 in Istanbul. He graduated from and served as an assistant lecturer at the Hendese-i Mülkiye Mektebi, an engineering school during the Ottoman era that is accepted as the founding school of today’s Istanbul Technical University. In 1895, the government sent him to Berlin for two years of further studies in architecture at Charlottenburg Technische Hochschule.

In 1908, Architect Kemaleddin founded the first trade association in the Ottoman Empire, the “Ottoman Chamber of Architects and Engineers” and he was one of the leading figures of the First National Architectural Movement. His work blended the distinct characteristics of German architecture with those of classical Ottoman architecture to produce a new style. Some of his most renowned works are: 

  • Istanbul: Çamlıca Girls’ High School, Mosques of Bostancı, Bakırköy, Bebek and Yeşilköy,   Reşadiye School and Tomb of Sultan Reşat, Tombs of Gazi Osman, Mahmud Şevket, Cevat, Ali Rıza and Hüsnü Pashas, Laleli Harikzedegan (Tayyare) Apartments, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Foundation Public Houses (Vakıf Hanları) 
  • Ankara: Premises of Gazi Education Institute and Turkish State Railways in Ankara.


Fatma Aliye (1862-1936) - 50 Turkish liras

Born in 1862 in Istanbul, Fatma Aliye was the first Turkish female philosopher and one of the first Turkish female novelists. She started her career in 1889 by translating a novel (Volonté) by George Ohnet into Turkish with the title “Meram” under the pseudonym “Bir Hanım” (A Lady).  In her later works on philosophy, biography and literature, Fatma Aliye used the pseudonym Mütercime-i Meram (The female Translator of Meram). 

Aliye mostly wrote about emotional themes in her novels and published her first novel “Muhadarat” in 1892.

Fatma Aliye lived during the Tanzimat Period (Ottoman Reform) and defended women’s rights in that period by writing widely on subjects such as a women’s place in society, the family and marriage and the importance of women’s education.  She also worked for women’s involvement in social life and established the Şefkat-i Nisvan Derneği (Women’s Care Association) with her sister Emine Semiyye and made efforts to support women’s education and to ensure women’s participation in production with small enterprises.

Some of Fatma Aliye’s works have been translated into French and Arabic. Fatma Aliye’s biography and her works were exhibited at the library of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and cited in the Catalogue of the Women's Library. 


Buhurizade Mustafa Efendi (Itri) (1640-1712) - 100 Turkish liras

Buhurizade Mustafa Efendi, known as “Itri”, whose date of birth is generally placed in 1640, is the founder of Turkish classical music. Itri had an extensive theoretical knowledge of music and his compositions involve a wide variety of melodic patterns. Itrî created music in nearly all forms of Turkish classical music including peşrev, saz semai, kâr, beste, ilahi and other modes.

Itri’s approach to and interpretation of religious music helped introduce a new musical form.  The “Segâh Kurban Bayramı Tekbiri”, performed by the whole congregation during the performance of prayers on the first days of religious festivals, and the “Segâh Salât-ı Ümmiye”, performed during the visits paid to holy Muslim relics, and the “Segâh Ayin-i Şerif-i Mevlevi” are some of his most renowned pieces. 


Yunus Emre (1238-1320) -  200 Turkish liras

Yunus Emre is a pioneer of mysticism in Anatolia and Turkish mystic poetry. Most sources state that he was born in 1238 to a Turkish family who migrated to Anatolia from Central Asia. 

Yunus Emre studied at a madrasah (Muslim theological school) where he learned Arabic and Persian. He became interested in Iranian and Greek mythology and analyzed the history of mysticism. He became Tapduk Emre’s student when he was young and traveled Anatolia for many years, explaining Tapduk Emre’s philosophy to Anatolian people.

Yunus Emre was one of the prominent scholars in the history of Islam. His belief, which is known as Vahdet-i Vücud (unity of existence), explores the essence of the Koran, trying to comprehend and explain the secrets of the ‘one and only creator’ to the community.

Yunus Emre, who was the pioneer of mysticism in Anatolia and Turkish poetry, explained mystical concepts by using a simple yet lucid and beautiful language addressing ordinary people.

UNESCO dedicated 1991 as "The International Yunus Emre Year”.