More Turkish troops arrive in Qatar

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani will visit Turkey and have a one on one meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Friday.

The slow build-up of Turkish soldiers in Qatar has continued, despite their withdrawal being one of the demands that Saudi Arabia and its allies have insisted Doha complies with before they lift their blockade of the emirate, report IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.

Turkish soldiers driving ACV-15s at a base to the southwest of central Doha in a photograph released by the Qatari MoD on 18 June.

The Qatari ministry of defense (MoD) announced on 11 July that a fifth installment of Turkish soldiers had arrived in Doha to join their comrades at the Tariq bin Zayid Battalion base, under the provisions of the military co-operation agreement signed by the two countries.

The ministry released photographs showing Turkish troops disembarking from a Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) C-130J-30 transport aircraft.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) did not confirm the statement, but Turkish newspapers reported on the following day that that a 45-strong commando unit affiliated to the Istanbul-based 1st Army Command had arrived in Doha.

The Dogan News Agency (DHA) reported that another contingent of about 25 soldiers from an artillery unit would arrive in Qatar between 16 and 19 July with T-155 Fırtına self-propelled howitzers.

Neither country has revealed the total number of Turkish soldiers currently in Qatar.

The Qatari MoD reported the arrival of the batches on 18, 22, and 39 June respectively, and released photographs showing Turkish soldiers and ACV-15 armored personnel carriers being unloaded from QAEF C-17 transports at Al-Udeid Air Base.

The TSK said the group that arrived on 22 June consisted of 23 personnel and five armored vehicles. A senior Turkish defense official told parliament in May that the country had 94 soldiers in Qatar at that time.

Turkey’s parliament approved two deals to deploy troops to the Turkish air base in capital Doha.

Ankara’s move to deploy troops to the small country was meant to increase stability and assist in Turkish peacemaking efforts.

The deal to deploy troops to Qatari soil, which Turkey says is expected to improve the small Gulf country’s army and boost military cooperation according to Daily Sabah, was signed in April 2016 in the Doha. The deal was approved by Parliament after a one year period.

A defense agreement in 2014 between Ankara and Doha required Turkey to establish a base in Qatar, at the request of the Qatari government.

Turkey has said it will not close its military base in Qatar. “The closure of the base would happen under one condition,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the France 24 television network.

“Unless Qatar wants it, we will not do it,” Erdogan said.

On Friday, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani will visit Turkey and have a one on one meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey has been making efforts throughout the mediation process since the Gulf crisis broke out.

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