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Newly appointed Chairman of the Turk Telecom International (TTI) Group Management Board, Mehmet Toros has underlined that the organization's main focus is to generate new sales and enhance business cooperation on the newly launched matchless PoP 'SEA-ME-WE-5' underwater cable system. Turk Telecom International is a leading telecommunications operator in the Middle East, Asia, Turkey, CIS and Eastern Europe. It provides a full range of infrastructure, connectivity, internet and wholesale voice services to incumbents, alternative carriers, mobile operators, internet service providers, content providers and corporate customers.

Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with TTI's new Chairman in Dubai - to find out his vision for the future and learn about his strategic plan in key markets such as the Middle East and Asia in 2017. In addition to this, we asked Mr. Toros about the ambitious 'SEA-ME-WE-5' project which brings together 19 operators in 18 countries connecting three continents. It is a global milestone in the telecommunications industry which will open up new opportunities for greater trade and economic growth; strengthen ties among multiple countries and people of various cultures. With its state of the art technology, SEA-ME-WE 5 presents matchless communication quality along its route from Asia to Western Europe.

Can you outline the current company structure in relations to mergers - and just basically take us through the whole process in the last twelve months?
Turk Telecom International is the international arm of the Turk Telecom parent company (which is the incumbent operator in Turkey)-and it also has mobile, broadband departments and broadband infrastructures. However, Turk Telecom International is involved mainly in wholesale voice and data business internationally on behalf of Turk Telecom. One of the main offices in Turk Telecom International is based in Budapest, but we have technical teams and our state-of-the art NOC center in Austria and our management offices are located in Istanbul. Last year, there were some changes at management level, not only in Turk Telecom International, but also in Turk Telecom parent company. The group CEO and the VPs have been changed in Turk Telecom, and I have been appointed as the Chairman of the Management Board of Turk Telecom International Group. We have also replaced the CTO and CBSO have changed our organizational structure - we merged our chief marketing and chief sales officer under the title of chief commercial officer. In addition to this, we have also appointed a Managing Director at Turk Telecom International to be responsible for mainly technical and operational issues which may arise within the organization. Turk Telecom International has entities and representatives in sixteen different countries.

What can you tell us about your footprint in the markets - let's start with the Middle East and Africa, and then let's examine your presence in the Asian market?
The Middle East is one of the most important markets for Turk Telecom International - we have initiatives and joint-operations with consultants in the Middle East. The biggest project we launched as part of the SEA-ME 5 Consortium was the unique and matchless SEA-ME-WE-5 subsea cable system. Turk Telecom International started to investigate into long submarine cables, and we subsequently decided to join the SEA-ME-WE-5 consortium. The SEA-ME-WE-5 submarine cables systems were deployed in December 2016 - and I'd like to express my gratitude to my colleagues in the Marketing Communication department at Turk Telecom International - because Turk Telecom International has recently been awarded to manage all Marketing Communications related tasks of the SEA-ME-WE-5 consortium. In February, TTI hosted very successfully the SEA-ME-WE 5 Project Launch celebration Event in Istanbul. With the completion of this advanced and innovative project, Turkey now has adequate infrastructure to meet the country's rising data demand at an initial capacity of 24 Tbps. By being part of this cutting-edge and comprehensive development, Turkey also plays a key and outstanding role in covering the region international date needs as well.

We made an investment of around $50m in the SEA-ME-WE 5 subsea cable systems and we have other initiatives in and around the Middle East. In relation to Africa we are focusing on Eastern Africa. In Asia, southern Asia we're going to reach throughout the SEA-ME-WE-5 underwater cable system and capacities.

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