Turkey says base in Qatar part of ‘common vision’ with GCC for peace, security
“The establishment of our military base in Qatar is compatible with our common vision with the Gulf Cooperation Council towards the preservation of regional peace, security and stability,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hüseyin Müftüoğlu said in a written statement on June 25, responding to a question on the demand from a number of Gulf countries for the closure of the Turkish military base in Qatar.
“Just like the presence of other foreign military bases or units in other countries of the region, our military presence in Qatar is principally based on a decision taken by the two countries relying on their sovereign rights,” Müftüoğlu said.
Gulf and Arab countries under the leadership of Saudi Arabia have demanded that Qatar immediately close the Turkish military base on its soil and to end its military cooperation among other conditions to normalize their relations with the oil-rich Gulf country.
Turkey and Qatar agreed in 2014 on the former’s establishment of a military base, which currently hosts just over 100 troops. The two countries were reportedly planning to conducted a joint military drill in the coming weeks.
Müftüoğlu said Turkey is “saddened” by the fact that the crisis between Qatar and certain Gulf countries could not yet be resolved.
“We could not see any relation between this crisis and the activities we have been undertaking to set up a military base in Qatar pursuant to the agreement that we have signed with Qatar in 2014,” he added.
“As we expressed before on various occasions, the purpose of the deployment of the Turkish Armed Forces in Qatar is to contribute to the security of the region as well as to provide Qatar with support in military training. Our activities are not against any particular country,” Müftüoğlu said, recalling that a strategic dialogue mechanism exists between Turkey and the GCC.