Turkey to fast track legislation approving troop deployment in Qatar

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (3rd L) and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (L) inspect a guard of honor during an official welcoming ceremony in Doha, Qatar on February 15, 2017.

Turkey’s Parliament is expected on Wednesday to fast track a draft bill to allow its troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar, officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the nationalist opposition said, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara would continue to develop relations with Qatar.

“I do not approve of Qatar being seen as terror suspect. If this were the case, I would be the first president to take a stand against [Qatar],” Erdoğan said, adding: “Here a different game is played. We have not yet been able to find out who is behind this game.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Reuters also reported that Qatar is in talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies amid concerns of possible shortages two days after its biggest suppliers, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, cut trade and diplomatic ties with the import-dependent country.

Ankara’s move appears to support the Gulf Arab country when it faces diplomatic and trade isolation from some of the biggest Middle Eastern powers.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights on Monday, charging it with financing militant groups.

Qatar vehemently denies the accusations. It is the worst split between powerful Arab states in decades.

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