Turkey uses old liras to heat Central Bank

The Turkish government is into hot money. But it's not some undercover scam with laundered Turkish liras or unaccountably missing funds spilled somewhere in public through miscalculated international intrigue.

It's something better - turning worn-out Turkish bank notes into energy-producing fuel. According to the newspaper Milliyet, an enterprising civil servant hit the Central Bank's suggestion box with a great heat-producing argument.

In Ankara worn, torn, dirty, and graffiti-marked liras are returned literally by the ton to the Central Bank for removal from circulation. Because of the specially treated paper, used Turkish bank notes are not viable as recycled paper. So up to now, they have simply been shredded and burned.

Why not, said the unidentified civil servant, burn the old currency for heat? (It gets very cold in Ankara in winter, and coal is not cheap.) Why not burn the old paper money in some important furnace facility - say, like a new building owned by the Central Bank with apartments rented to senior executives?

Burning money sounds strange. But in Ankara, Central Bank officials like the idea. They have made it standard procedure - and it is keeping their new 12 -story building warm and comfortable.

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