Turkey’s defence minister said the two nations are aiming to enhance their deterrence capabilities.
Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said defence cooperation between Turkey and Qatar looks towards enhancing deterrence capabilities rather than intimidating other nations.
Speaking to Turkish troops in Qatar ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit on Tuesday, Akar said Qatar and Turkey have overcome difficult times and will strive to further boost their relations.
“The work we have done here in Qatar is not against third countries, but to rather protect our people’s rights (and) maximize our deterrence capabilities,” Akar said.
Turkish and Qatari armed, air and naval forces will continue their joint drills and enhance their experience and skills, he noted.
The upcoming Qatar-Turkey strategic dialogue, which will see President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Doha this week, is set to mark a new chapter in relations between the two allies.
On Monday,Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said up to 12 new agreements are expected to be signed during the high-profile meetings in Doha.
The comments were made during a press conference between Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Sheikh Mohammed in Doha.
“Our military and defence relations are further being promoted along with education and cultural sectors. Therefore, we will sign a document for cooperation in the cultural, academic and education sectors tomorrow,” noted Cavusoglu.
Akar’s visit comes as part of Erdogan’s official visit to Qatar on the occasion of the 7th meeting of the Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee.
Both countries have been working together on numerous regional matters, including in Libya and Afghanistan.
The two nations played a crucial role in supporting the legitimate Libyan government and defending Tripoli against General Khalifa Haftar’s putschist forces in a 14-month offensive.
Qatar and Turkey have been allies since 1972, with relations growing increasingly stronger in the past years, especially since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an illegal blockade on Qatar in 2017.
In 2015, Turkey established a military base with around 3,000 troops in Qatar led by the Qatar-Turkey Combined Joint Force Command. The base was previously described by the the former blockading quartet as a “source of instability.”
In June, reports said Turkey was preparing to train Qatari fighter pilots and allow the temporary deployment of up to 36 Qatari military aircraft and 250 personnel, according to a document obtained by monitoring and news site Nordic Monitor.
More recently, technical teams from both nations helped operate the civilian side of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport following the foreign troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on 31 August.
Economically, the trade volume between Doha and Ankara has increased by 6%, reaching $1.6 billion during the past 12 months.
Qatar’s total investments in Turkey have now reached $22 billion, with 533 Turkish companies operating in the Gulf country in numerous projects that are worth at least $18.5 billion. In turn, 179 Qatari companies currently operate in Turkey.
On Saturday, President Erdogan inaugurated the biggest Zinc production facility in the southeastern province of Siirt with a Qatari partnership. The facility’s worth stands at up to $102 million.