Turkey to deploy troops to Qatar to 'counter threats'

Turkey to deploy troops to Qatar to 'counter threats'
Turkey will deploy soldiers to a new military base in Qatar as part of a security agreement to 'help counter threats to both countries'.
2 min read
29 April, 2016
Both countries have backed the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Syrian rebels [Getty]
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has signed a military deal with Qatar that includes the deployment of Turkish troops to a new Turkish military base in the Gulf nation to help "counter threats to both countries".

Davutoglu concluded the deal on Thursday while on a two-day visit to Qatar to meet with his Qatari counterpart Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah and the Qatari Interior Minister Abdallah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.

The two long-time allies have both provided support for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Syrian rebel groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime.

"There has been exceptionally high-level strategic cooperation in the defence and military fields between Turkey and Qatar," Davutoglu said.

He said that his country's first overseas military base in the Middle East "was not directed at against any nation" but that it was a "presence for stability".

"I can tell you now that the security and stability of Qatar is like the security and stability of Turkey. We want a stable and secure Gulf. Turkey and Qatar, we have the same destiny. We face the same threats," he added.

      Around 100 Turkish troops are already training in Qatar [Getty]
The number of soldiers to be deployed was not specified.

The Turkish base was first announced last December when the two countries signed a defence agreement aimed at helping confront "common enemies".

At the time, Turkish envoy Ahmet Demirok said that 3,000 ground troops would be stationed at the base as well as air and naval units, military trainers and special operations forces.

The number of Turkish troops currently deployed to Qatar is unclear, Demirok said in December that there were 100 servicemen training with Qatar's military.

Ankara's defence minister said last month that the military base will be ready within two years and that that Qatari military personnel and aircraft currently stationed in Turkey as a part of the reciprocal.

An agreement signed in 2014 and ratified by Turkey's parliament last June intensified the partnership with Qatar at a time of rising instability and a perceived waning of US interest in the region.

Qatar is already home to the biggest air base in the Middle East, Al Udeid, where some 10,000 military personnel are stationed, and is the forward headquarters of United States Central Command.