We are going to Turkey and Greece. Should we purchase Turkish lire before entering Turkey or buy lire with euros or dollars?
The simplest thing to do is to make a withdrawel from a local ATM. That's what I did shortly after my plane landed in Istanbul. There were ATMs just past the customs area.
Make sure you notify your bank/card issuers of your travel plans, otherwise they may block overseas transactions.
It's lira and you should get them from the airport atm and from any other atm when you need more.
Greece uses euro and you should get them the same way.
You'll need twenty bucks in cash for the Turkish visa.
You can get the Lira from an ATM and you now buy the visa at home online before you go. Some places in Turkey will take Euros but the exchange rate is not as good as you will get at an ATM. Hotels will also offer to exchange dollars or Euros for you but again the exchange rate is not very good.
I got some at my bank here in the states before leaving. Free of charge with certain accounts. Just ordered what I wanted via phone and when there were in I picked them up.
As of this spring, the Turkish tourist visa now needs to be purchased online, instead of with cash at the border; see http://www.ricksteves.com/europe/turkey/guidebook-updates. ATMs are the easiest and best-value way to get cash; see also http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money.
I agree about using an ATM. We've been twice and always pulled out Lira when we arrived with no problems.
Turkey is still phasing in the e-visa and will probably be doing so for seven evers. If you use the kiosk in the airport, I think it costs maybe ten buck more than what I said above.
Free of charge with certain accounts.
Just means that the exchange rate is inflated about 10 to 12%. I have sometimes seen as much as 20% but it is free of any fees.