Turkey sending troops to Qatar as Erdogan slams Doha isolation

Turkey sending troops to Qatar as Erdogan slams Doha isolation

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Turkey is set to deploying troops in Qatar after the country’s president voiced disapproval of the Saudi-led sanctions on the tiny Persian Gulf State.

Turkey’s parliament on Wednesday ratified two deals on deploying troops in Qatar and training the nation's gendarmerie forces. The votes came just days after five Arab countries cut ties with Qatar.

The deal on deploying troops on Qatari soil to improve the country's army and boost military cooperation was signed in April 2016, in the Persian Gulf country’s capital Doha.

Under the bill, the armies of the two countries will also be able to carry out joint exercises. The move aims to contribute to regional and world peace.

In addition, the Turkish gendarmerie will be able to train Qatar’s gendarmerie forces under a deal between the two countries’ interior ministries signed in December 2015.

The base where the Turkish troops would be sent was designed to serve primarily as a site for joint training drills, Turkey's former ambassador to Qatar, Ahmet Demirok, told Reuters in 2015.

A total of 150 troops have already been stationed at the base, according to Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper. Ankara plans to eventually send a total of 3,000 ground troops there, Demirok said during his interview with Reuters two years ago.

On Monday, five Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen -- cut ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. Qatar denied the accusations, calling the move "unjustified".

Turkey's president Tuesday voiced disapproval of the sanctions on Qatar in the wake of several Arab countries severing diplomatic relations with Doha.

"I want to clearly say that we disapprove of the sanctions on Qatar," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

"These developments, coming at a time when we need solidarity and cooperation more than ever, are no good for any country in the region."

Turkey and Qatar, which have friendly relations, have both provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt - a political party which has been banned by both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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