Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
Turkey and Qatar started a joint military exercise on Aug. 1 with the participation of over 250 Turkish troops and more than 30 armored vehicles, a Turkish official has told the Hürriyet Daily News.
Turkish land forces are participating in the first phase of the joint military exercise, while the second stage will include the naval forces of the two countries, after the Turkish frigate “TCG Gökova” arrived in Qatar with 214 personnel.
Aug. 7-8 has been determined as the “distinguished observer day” of the joint exercise, with the participation of high-level commanders from Qatar and Turkey.
The long-planned exercises are part of a mutual agreement aimed at “strengthening the defense capabilities of both countries,” as well as “boosting efforts to combat armed groups and maintaining stability in the region.”
Turkey’s parliament on June 7 ratified legislation to allow more troops to be deployed to the military base in Qatar set up as part of an agreement signed in 2014.
The latest joint exercise comes amid political tension among Gulf countries.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and a number of other countries recently cut ties with Qatar, accusing the emirate of supporting terrorism.
Doha denies the accusations and says measures imposed by its Gulf neighbors amount to a “blockade.”