Turkey sends new troops to Qatar

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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 13: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (R) within the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey on December 13, 2017. AFP Photo

A group of Turkish soldiers have been deployed to a military base in the Qatari capital of Doha, Qatar’s Defense Ministry said.

According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, Turkish soldiers arrived at the Al Udeid Air Base in southern Doha on Tuesday, the Qatari ministry said in a statement.

The soldiers will join another group that had previously been sent to the Tariq bin Ziyad military base in the Gulf state.

The deployment is part of a 2014 defense agreement between Doha and Ankara under which Turkey established a base in Qatar at the request of its government.

In April 2016, the two countries concluded a military deal that would see Turkish troops deployed to a military base in the Gulf state.

The first group arrived in Qatar this June and conducted their first drill at Tariq bin Ziyad base.

“With the arrival of this new group, the countries will have more military drills aimed at strengthening the defense capabilities of both countries,” Anadolu reported.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum on Tuesday that there is no possibility of any cooperative deals being signed between Turkey, Iran and Qatar.

Çavuşoğlu was speaking in Sudan during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the North African region.

At a press conference held with his Sudanese counterpart, Ibrahim Ghandour, Çavuşoğlu spoke about Turkey’s Middle East policy.

Asked about the prospects for regional cooperation between Ankara, Tehran and Doha, he said, “There is no Turkey-Iran-Qatar axis.”

After a diplomatic crisis erupted in June between Qatar and other Gulf countries, Turkey vowed to stand by Qatar and has called on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to end all sanctions on Doha.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed relations with Doha, claiming that Qatar embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disrupting stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Qaeda, and constantly promotes the messages and schemes of these groups through their media.

Immediately after the countries imposed sanctions on Qatar, Turkey’s Parliament approved two agreements for deploying troops to Qatar and military cooperation. Ankara has also sent supplies, including a ship carrying thousands of tons of food.

Turkey rejected a call from the four Arab states to shut down its military base in Qatar, saying the base was a guarantor of security in the Gulf and that demands for its closure represented interference in its ties with Doha.

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