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First Turkish military base in the Middle East to be stationed in Qatar

December 17, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Turkey will establish a military base in Qatar as part of a defence agreement aimed at helping the two countries face “common enemies”, the Turkish Ambassador in Qatar said yesterday.

The agreement signed in 2014 and ratified by the Turkish parliament in June, promotes Turkey’s partnership with Qatar at a time of rising instability in the region.

Qatar and Turkey provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Syrian opposition fighters who are fighting to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad.

The Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Demirok said in an interview with Reuters that 3,000 ground troops would be stationed at the base which is Turkey’s first military installation in the Middle East as well as air and naval units, military trainers and special operations forces.

He added that the “multi-purpose” base will primarily serve as a venue for joint training exercises.

The agreement also grants Qatar the option of setting up its own base in Turkey, Demirok said.

“Turkey and Qatar face common problems and we are both very concerned about developments in the region and uncertain policies of other countries … We confront common enemies. At this critical time for the Middle East cooperation between us is vital,” he added.

Demirok said 100 Turkish troops were currently in Qatar training the Gulf state’s military. He gave no date for when the new Turkish base would be completed.

“Today we are not building a new alliance but rather rediscovering historic and brotherly ties,” he said.

King’s College London Professor Jean-Marc Rickli, who specialises in Qatar national defence, said: “With the perceived disengagement by the United States from the Gulf, what we are witnessing now is a diversification of potential allies.”