Despite diplomatic crisis, Turkey and Qatar join hands and launch military exercises
Source :NewsBharati Date :02-Aug-2017
Istanbul, August 2: A week back, Turkeish President Tayyip Erdogan went on a tour to the UAE to solve its matters with Qatar, however, it did not happen. In fact, Turkey considers Qatar as its main regional ally. And by extending a hand of intense collaboration towards Qatar, both countries have launched military exercises in the emirate that will involve some 250 Turkish troops and 30 armoured vehicles.
Turkish state media said that the Turkish frigate TCG Gokova had docked in Doha earlier this week carrying 214 soldiers who would take part in the exercises. The exercises got underway today and would intially involve ground forces with naval forces later on, NTV television said. An observation day involving top commanders would take place on August 7-8, it added.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with their Shiite rival Iran. Doha denies the claims and has been strongly backed by Ankara throughout the standoff.
The crisis has put Turkey in a delicate position as it seeks to balance its strategic alliance with Qatar with preserving its own relations with regional kingpin Saudi Arabia. Turkey is setting up a military base in Qatar, its only such outpost in the region. It has sped up the process since the crisis began and reportedly now has 150 troops at the base. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said more time was needed to solve the crisis after a whistlestop tour of the region last month that included visits to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.