Turkey shows support by deploying extra troops in Qatar

Turkey shows support by deploying extra troops in Qatar

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain are among seven states that have cut diplomatic ties and many major transport links with Qatar, a gas-rich emirate on the Saudi border.

The AK Party lawmakers have proposed debating two pieces of legislation to allow Turkish troops to be deployed to Qatar and approve an accord between two countries on military training cooperation, according to AK Party and nationalist opposition officials.

The mandate did not specify how many soldiers will serve in Qatar where Turkey in 2015 chose to build at least one military base.

Under the bill passed by Turkish Parliament on Wednesday evening, the armies of the two countries will also be able to carry out joint exercises.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his country's solidarity with Qatar amid the current crisis with some Gulf states.

Qatar, a country of 2.7 million people about the size of the US state of CT, is a major investor in Turkey's $857 billion economy with interests in media, financial and defense companies.

Turkey has good relations with Qatar as well as several of its Gulf Arab neighbours and Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Monday that Ankara wanted to help resolve the dispute.

Aside from the military deployment, Turkey is also set to supply food to Qatar, which has seen 85 per cent of its food supply cut off because of the blockade. The most appropriate way for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to solve their internal issues is through dialogue. Qatar has always been accused of leveraging the presence of base and its importance to the United States for its own political autonomy, hosting many of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood exiles, scholars and activists as well as members of Hamas' senior political bureau.

During the six-year Syrian conflict, Doha and Ankara have backed rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

The agreement does not contain any specific number of troops to be stationed in the base, or when.

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