Turkish Airlines announces new leadership changes

A Turkish Airlines jet above clouds.
Photo Credit: Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier of Türkiye, is currently undergoing a transformative phase with key leadership transitions.

Having closed 2023 with a historic fleet order of 355 state-of-the-art Airbus aircraft, the Turkish national carrier carries the momentum forward into the New Year with several key leadership movements.

Turhan Özen: A Stalwart in Cargo Management


Turhan Özen, the outgoing Chief Cargo Officer at Turkish Airlines, leaves behind a legacy marked by over seven years of commendable service.

Joining the airline in 2016, Özen brought with him more than 25 years of experience in supply chain management and logistics.

Under his stewardship, Turkish Cargo, the airline’s cargo brand, witnessed substantial growth in revenues and global market share.

A Turkish Cargo Boeing 777 freighter approaches to land.
MarcelX42, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Raising Turkish Cargo’s Profile

A pivotal moment during Özen’s tenure was the relocation of Turkish Cargo to SmartIst, Europe’s largest air cargo facility, in early 2022.

This strategic move not only underscored the airline’s commitment to operational excellence but also resulted in notable improvements in customer focus, service quality, and product range.

Ali Türk: New Era in Cargo Leadership


Stepping into Özen’s shoes is Ali Türk, an accomplished professional with a background in industrial engineering and an Executive MBA from Istanbul Technical University.

Türk’s journey in the corporate world began in 1999, and prior to joining Turkish Airlines in 2011, he held significant positions in prominent organizations such as Başak Hayat Insurance, Ülker Group of Companies, and Ceva Logistics.

A Rich Experience

Türk’s diverse experience includes a pivotal role as the Head of Cargo at Turkish Airlines since 2012.

His tenure at Turkcell, where he served as Deputy General Manager of Supply Chain Management, further equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of procurement, logistics, leasing, and various other critical processes.

A Turkish Airlines 787 approaches to land.
Adam Moreira (AEMoreira042281), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chief Commercial Officer to Chief Operational Officer


Beyond the changes in the cargo division, Turkish Airlines has undertaken broader organizational restructuring.

The position of Chief Commercial Officer has been redefined as Chief Operational Officer, indicating a strategic shift in focus.

Kerem Sarp, the former Chief Commercial Officer, will transition to the role of General Manager at Ajet Air Transport A.Ş.

Mehmet Akif Konar: New Chief Operational Officer


Replacing Sarp as the Chief Operational Officer is Mehmet Akif Konar, a seasoned professional with an extensive background in business engineering.

Konar’s journey, spanning from Belbim A.Ş. to Opet Petroleum A.Ş., showcases a wealth of experience.

His previous roles at Turkish Airlines include Director of Investment Planning and Projects, Regional Director for America and the Far East, Head of Production Planning, and Head of Marketing and Sales.

Looking Ahead


As Turkish Airlines bids farewell to Turhan Özen and Kerem Sarp, the company expresses gratitude for their invaluable contributions.

Özen’s strategic leadership in cargo and Sarp’s commercial acumen have played pivotal roles in the airline’s success.

Simultaneously, the company extends its best wishes to Ali Türk and Mehmet Akif Konar in their new roles, foreseeing continued success under their guidance.

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Having firmed a blockbuster fleet order with Airbus in late 2023, Turkish Airlines has kept up momentum, announcing key leadership changes.
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