More troops arrive at Turkish military base in Qatar
Qatar said on Tuesday more Turkish troops had arrived at a Turkish military base in Doha after Ankara fast-tracked legislation last month for more soldiers to be deployed there.
Training has been ongoing since June 19. The base in Qatar houses Turkish soldiers under an agreement signed in 2014.
With the support of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain, the Saudis announced on June 5 they were suspending all ties with Qatar over accusations of terrorism. They closed their airspace to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirate's only land border, a vital route for its food imports. They also ordered all Qataris to leave and their own nationals to return home. Last week, Riyadh laid down a list of 13 demands for Qatar, including the closure of Al-Jazeera television, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate. The UAE warned that Qatar should take the demands seriously or face a "divorce" from its Gulf neighbors.
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.
Turkey has been trying to do its best to mediate since the crisis broke out. Ankara displayed its support to Qatar as Parliament approved two deals to deploy troops to an air base in Qatar. Ankara's move to deploy troops to the small country is meant to increase stability and help Turkish peacemaking efforts function better. The deal to deploy troops to Qatari soil, which is expected to improve the country's army and boost military cooperation, was signed in April 2016 in the Gulf country's capital Doha. The deal was approved by Parliament after a period of one year.
"This defense cooperation between Doha and Ankara is part of their common defense vision to support anti-terrorism efforts and maintain security and stability in the region," a statement by Qatar's Armed Forces said.
The statement did not give the number of Turkish troops at the base or how many had just joined to bolster the deployment.