Turkish soldiers in Qatar took part in a joint military exercise with Qatari troops, showcasing a strategic alliance between the two nations amid a Gulf crisis that erupted after several Arab countries cut ties with Qatar and accused it of financially supporting terror groups.
According to Reuters, the joint military exercise showcased Qatar’s strategic alliance with Turkey and was aimed at preparing Qatar’s armed forces to defend “vital economic, strategic and infrastructure facilities.”
After a diplomatic crisis broke out in the Gulf region on June 5 after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain called Qatar a supporter of terrorism, the Turkish Parliament fast-tracked legislation on June 7 to allow hundreds of troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar, set up as part of an agreement signed in 2014, in a show of support for Qatar, which is also home to the biggest US. air base in the region.
Ankara has said it will deploy 3,000 ground troops at the base to serve as a venue for joint training exercises and to support anti-terrorism efforts.
According to the Turkish NTV.com website, Turkey sent a frigate to attend the naval portion of the exercises, with more than 250 Turkish soldiers and 30 armored vehicles taking part in the maneuvers.
The exercises will end on Tuesday.