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Turkish troops take part in drills in Qatar

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Turkish troops have taken part in long-planned joint military exercises in Qatar, military sources and al Jazeera television reported on Monday, in the midst of a diplomatic row between Doha and four other Arab states.

The Doha-based al Jazeera reported that Turkish troops had arrived in Qatar on Sunday; however, military sources in the region told Reuters no new Turkish military units had been sent to Qatar and that a unit already stationed there was taking part in the drills.

Al Jazeera posted a video on its website of armored personnel carriers moving through streets.

Turkey’s Parliament on June 7 fast-tracked legislation to allow troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar that currently houses about 90 Turkish soldiers.

Turkey set up the base, its first such installation in the Middle East, as part of an agreement signed in 2014.

The Turkish forces conducted their first training at Tariq bin Ziyad military base on Sunday, al Jazeera said, citing the ministry, saying the drills had been long planned.

The drills come as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt and a number of other countries recently severed relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting “terrorism” and Iran. Qatar rejects the accusations.

Turkey has been the foremost supporter of Qatar since the Gulf dispute began on June 5.
Ankara has also been trying to mediate between the sides in order to find a solution to the crisis.

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