President Erdoğan ratifies deals on troop, warplane deployment to Qatar
Uğur Ergan - ANKARA
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late on June 8 ratified two deals on deploying Turkish troops to Qatar and training the Gulf nation’s gendarmerie forces, paving way for Turkey to send warships and warplanes to the country, which has been facing a diplomatic dispute with several Arab countries.
The Turkish parliament earlier ratified the agreements on June 7. The vote came just days after five Arab countries cut their ties with the gas-rich country over accusations that it supported terrorism.
The deal on deploying troops on Qatari soil, aimed at improving the country’s armed forces and boosting military cooperation, was signed in April in Doha.
Under the bill, the two countries’ armies will also be able to carry out joint exercises. The move aims to contribute to regional and world peace.
The number of Turkish ships and jets will that will be sent to Qatar will be determined after an inspection at the base designated to Turkey in the country, according to officials.
A Turkish team will inspect the base where 90 Turkish soldiers are currently deployed temporarily.
Officials told daily Hürriyet that some 200 to 250 Turkish soldiers will be deployed initially within two months.
Doha has recently agreed to consider the temporary base on its soil as a permanent one, sources also said.
“Turkish troops are coming to Qatar for the sake of the security of the entire region,” Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said in Doha on June 8 while briefing the press on the recent crisis.
In addition, Turkish gendarmes will train Qatari forces, approved under another deal between the two countries’ interior ministries in December 2015.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen cut ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
Qatar denied the accusations, calling the move “unjustified.”
The escalation came two weeks after the website of Qatar’s official news agency was allegedly hacked by unknown individuals who reportedly published statements attributed to the country’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
The incident triggered a diplomatic row between Qatar and its neighbors.