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İzmir / Turkey
Sunel, founded in 1939 and is owned by Gurel Family, is one of Turkey’s oldest leaf tobacco dealers.
However, the company’s roots date back to the 1920’s where the launch of its present venture was based on events intimately intertwined with the history of Turkish Republic. As is known, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the young Turkish Republic assumed its predecessors debt but with little economic power was limited in its means of repayment. Being the late 1920’s early 1930’s the nations of the world strived to overcome the effects of the great depression and sought mutual solutions for their economic problems.
Turkey, left with the responsibility of compensating the Empires debts, in this case to England, was in search of ways to generate a method of payment to its creditor.
As a result, discussions were held between the British Foreign Office, Board of Trade and the Turkish Government where it was agreed Turkey’s debts would be repaid via tobacco exports. According to this agreement a company founded in Turkey would be formed under special instructions and permission of the Turkish Foreign Ministry. This company was Sunel. The value of tobacco was deducted from Turkey’s debt to England. Thus, Sunel’s emergence and development coincides with an economic turning point in the history of the Republic of Turkiye.