The Qatar-based Gulf Helicopters has been authorized by Turkey’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to train Qatari aviation personnel for a certificate of competency in the civil aviation industry, the Birgün daily reported on Wednesday.
Gulf Helicopters is the only company outside Turkey that is authorized by the DGCA, an institution affiliated with Turkey’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.
The company is listed on the directorate’s website as an approved training organization (ATO), which provides “flight training services in accordance with principles determined under the framework of national and international regulations authorized by the DGCA,” according to the website.
Forty-nine percent of the shares of Redstar Aviation (RSA), which has supported Turkey as it explored natural gas in the Black Sea, is owned by Gulf Helicopters. RSA, 51 percent of which is owned by two Turkish businessmen, has transported supplies in support of the natural gas exploration mission carried out by the Turkish drill ship Fatih.
The Turkish Health Ministry leased two air ambulances for four years from RSA, paying a total of TL 126 billion in 2018. The ministry reportedly leased another air ambulance for a year in June, paying RSA TL 17.2 billion.
Qatar is Turkey’s only ally among Arab countries in the Gulf region. The two countries have enjoyed close relations, particularly since a diplomatic crisis with the Gulf country erupted on June 5, 2017. The Arab quartet, led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, accused Qatar of links to the Muslim Brotherhood along with several other militant Islamist groups in the region.
Qatar was supportive of the Arab Spring, which first erupted in 2011 in Tunisia, with a view to ousting established regimes in Arab countries. Since then, Turkey has backed Qatar, which faces a total blockade by Arab states. Turkey has also increased its number of troops in the Gulf country.