Purpose The study mainly aims to examine the currency misalignment of Turkish lira and evaluate if it has an impact on economic growth of Turkey. Design/methodology/approach It relies on Johansen cointegration technique for measuring currency misalignment relying on single-equation approach and the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach to evaluate how misalignment affects economic growth. The sample period covers from 1980 to 2016. Findings The study identifies that terms of trade, relative productivity differences, net foreign asset, investment and trade openness determine the equilibrium REER of Turkey, and the degree of currency misalignment is observed at a substantial level. The outcome of the ARDL approach suggests that higher currency misalignment reduces economic growth. Turning to the separate impacts of undervaluation and overvaluation, while the former falters economic growth, the later promotes it, a finding contrary to the conventional expectation. Therefore, the use of exchange rate as a policy variable is a critical concern to avoid misalignment for sustained economic growth. Practical implications The anti-growth effect of undervaluation and misalignment is an indication of redistribution of income which could be verified by examining the aggregate consumption behavior of the economy in response to RER movements. Originality/value The impacts of currency undervaluation and overvaluation on economic growth of Turkey have been studied in a number of time-series studies. But there is no documented study on the role of currency misalignment on Turkish economic growth. This study is the first that examines how the economic growth of Turkey is influenced by currency misalignment together with the impact of undervaluation and overvaluation.