Rare Phonecards
Turkey: several systems tested

urkey is an independent republic occupying a region, partly in Europe and partly in Asia, and is one of the more developed Middle Eastern countries, where industrialization is in progress.
More than half of the population live in urban areas. Istambul is the cultural, industrial, and commercial center; Ankara is the capital. Other major cities are Izmir, Adana, Antakya (or Antioch), Konya, Edirne, Trabzon, and Bursa.
Large-scale migration to the cities since mid-century has led to overcrowding. The birthrate and average life expectancy are closer to the norm for a Middle Eastern country than for a European country. The population density is highest in the coastal regions, especially along the Black Sea.



he first phonecards which have been used in Turkey were optical cards manufactured and supplied by Swiss Landis & Gyr, and the first one appeared in 1986. Only definitive cards were issued, although some had advertising on the reverse. Up to 1988, only metallic yellow / silver cards were printed, with face values of 120 units initially, and later 20 and 30 units too; then, in 1989, there was another printing of three values on different coloured cards: 30 units (metallic green), 60 units (metallic blue), and 120 units (metallic yellow).
At left, three Landis & Gyr optical cards, issued in 1988/89
Urmet trial card, 10,000 issued and tested in 1989
n the same year, Turkish PTT began the field trials of other different systems, and so the most important cardphone manufacturers offered their products testing them in several Turkish places. We know the existance of a Turkish card by Italian Urmet, showing a beautiful ancient vase; a card have been manufactured by Japanese Tamura, and is now quite rare; a niceful set of nine cards have been offered by British GPT.
The GPT cards, a set of 9 pictorials issued in 1989, featuring Turkish subjects, are among the most beautiful ones tested there, and even if 10,000 sets have been printed, GPT withdrew from the trials before they were completed, so it is not clear how many of them have been really used in Turkey.

At right: the nine beautiful cards issued by GPT in 1989. Featuring Turkish views, they have deep notch and 1TKY...controls.
  
ater on, following these trials, the payphone system developed by Belgian Alcatel-Bell was adopted, and a large series of 29 beautiful cards showing Turkish landscapes and archeological sites was issued, each one printed in three values: 30, 60, and 90.
These cards were reprinted some times during the years, but, even if the pictures remained the same, there are different barcodes, overprints, etc. on the back, so that it's easy to disinguish one set from another. The complete collection of all subjects, values and varieties is almost impossible to get, as it is composed by 340 cards!
A further series of landscapes followed, this time different pictures but only 12 cards; up to our days, with the issuing of several single and advertising cards.
More recently, Netas Telephone company have issued some chip cards, but they don't have yet a large diffusion.

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