The Turkish and Qatari militaries concluded a joint exercise as the crisis between Qatar and Gulf countries continues. Over 250 Turkish soldiers and 30 armored vehicles participated in the drill at a base in Qatar.
The Turkish Fleet Command’s TCG Gökova Frigate arrived in Hamad Port, southeast of the capital Doha, on July 31, as part of the naval section of the drill. The Qatari Defense Ministry announced in a written statement that the TCG Gökova arrived in Qatar with a unit of 214 sailors to participate in the joint naval exercises.
The naval exercises took place in Hamad Port, Doha Naval Base and Qatari territorial waters. The exercises were conducted as part of military cooperation agreements between Turkey and Qatar in the fight against extremism and terrorism.
A bilateral agreement regarding the deployment of Turkish soldiers in Qatar was ratified in Parliament on June 7.
The aim of the joint military exercise is to strengthen coordination and cooperation between Turkey and Qatar, which are members of the anti-Daesh coalition.
Since the beginning of the Qatar row, Ankara has been calling on all sides to solve the issue through dialogue. The crisis began on June 5, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt and several other states cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups. Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani strongly rejected the accusations and insisted that Qatar fights against terrorism relentlessly.
The Gulf crisis has put Turkey in a delicate position as it seeks to balance its strategic alliance with Qatar with preserving its own relations with regional kingpin Saudi Arabia.
Turkey is setting up a military base in Qatar, its only such outpost in the region. It has sped up the process since the crisis began and reportedly now has 150 troops at the base.
Photo: Turkish military officers shake hands with their Qatari counterparts at Hamad Port near Doha, Qatar, August 1, 2017 (AA Photo)