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The company was founded in Istanbul in 1862 and nationalised by the young Turkish Republic in 1925. It became a state monopoly as the only producer of alcohol and tobacco products. As part of a privatization process, the "alcohol" part of the company (spirits and wines) was sold to a Turkish consortium in 2004 (the tobacco part went to British American Tobacco in 2008). From 2006, the import and export of alcohol (spirits and wine) was liberalised, ending Tekel's former monopoly. Anyone (producer, trader, end customer) can now sell alcohol from Turkey, to Turkey but also within Turkey without government regulations.

In the same year, Mey was acquired for 810 million US dollars by the US financial investor TPG Capital (Texas Pacific Group) and now traded as Mey Içki Sanayi (Mey Beverage Industry). Finally, in 2011, the company was increased by 1.3 billion pounds (2.1 billion US dollars) by the English beverage multinational Diageo and incorporated as an independent subsidiary. The products are supplied to 50,000 retailers (network of own stores and independent sales outlets). The market share for raki is 80%.

More than 40 million litres of the main brand "Yeni Raki" are produced worldwide and sold in over 20 countries. It also produces vodka, gin and flavored fashion spirits, as well as beer and wines. Among the most famous brand wines are the red wine Buzbag from the Elazig area, the red wine Hosbag and the white wine Ürgüp from Cappadocia, as well as the red and white wines Trakya from Thrace and Güzel from Marmara. By the way, the name Tekel still appears on the product labels.

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