Monday, April 22, 2019
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Turkey: Qatar military base for the security of Gulf

Remarks attributed to Erdogan follow ratification of treaties on deployment of troops and training of Qatari forces.

The Turkish treaties

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told Bahrain's foreign minister that Turkey's military base in Qatar was aimed at contributing to the security of the entire Arab Gulf region, and was not aimed at any specific Gulf state.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish foreign minister, made the announcement on Saturday during a joint press conference on Saturday in Istanbul with Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, the Bahraini foreign minister.

Cavusoglu said Turkey would continue its efforts to resolve the dispute, as Qatar faces isolation imposed by fellow Arab states over its alleged support for terrorism.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed relations with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting "extremists" and Iran - charges Qatar calls "baseless".

Several other countries followed suit.

On Wednesday, Turkey's parliament ratified two treaties on deploying troops to Qatar and training the country's security forces.

The deal to send Turkish soldiers in Qatar, aimed at improving the country's army and boosting military cooperation, was signed in April 2016 in Doha.

According to Cavusoglu, Erdogan told Sheikh Khalid during their meeting that the dispute between Qatar and other Arab states should be resolved by the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is set to end on June 24.

"The ratification of the military treaties is not an anti-Saudi move at all," Can Kasapoglu, a defence analyst from Turkey's EDAM, said.

"Turkey still sticks to 'I don't want problems between my two good friends' policy.

READ MORE: Qatar-Gulf crisis - All the latest updates

"Yet, although this is not an anti-Saudi position, it is a pro-Qatari one for sure. Ankara prioritised its geopolitical perspective, and showed that it holds its military presence [in Qatar] above the recent diplomatic crisis."

After an initial deployment of Turkish soldiers at a base in Doha, Turkish fighter jets and ships will also be sent, Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper said on its website on Friday.

A Turkish delegation was set to arrive to Qatar in the coming days to assess the situation at the base, where about 90 Turkish soldiers are currently housed, according to an earlier report by Hurriyet.

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