Qatar FM: Turkish troops are coming for security of Gulf region

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Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani gives a press conference in Doha on May 25, 2017. Qatar has been targeted by a hostile campaign, particularly in the US media, its foreign minister said, a day after the Gulf state accused hackers of attributing false remarks to the emir on state media. / AFP PHOTO / KARIM JAAFAR

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Thursday that the deployment of Turkish troops to the embattled Gulf country would serve the security of the entire region.

Speaking during a press conference in Doha on an ongoing crisis with a group of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt on Thursday, al-Thani said, “Turkish troops are coming to Qatar for the sake of the security of the entire region.”

The Turkish Parliament on Wednesday approved legislation allowing its troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar amid a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed relations with Doha and closed their airspace to Qatari commercial flights on Monday, accusing it of financing terrorist groups.

According to the bill, the cooperation between Qatar and Turkey will primarily involve modernization of Qatar’s military as well as expanding cooperation in training and war exercises. The bill did not specify how many troops would go nor when, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Turkey set up a military base in Qatar, its first such installation in the Middle East, as part of an agreement signed in 2014. In 2016, Ahmet Davutoğlu, the then-Turkish prime minister, visited the base where 150 personnel are already stationed.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy group chairman Engin Altay said on Thursday that “Ankara has now become squeezed between the Gulf states after [being squeezed in] the stalemate between Russia and the United States.”

Turkey should develop policies that serve regional peace rather than taking sides. Turkey should not be a human resource supply for ISIL [the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant]. It should get away from being the logistics supply base of terrorist organizations,” he added

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