Turkey votes to deploy troops to Qatar amid Gulf row

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Turkish Parliament officials have approved legislation to send troops to Qatar as part of a long-discussed military agreement.

It remains unclear how many soldiers could be sent to Doha. But Turkey has been setting up a military base in the Gulf state that is expected to be ready next year.

A former ambassador previously said that the base could hold up to 3,000 Turkish soldiers, stationed primarily to conduct joint training exercises.

QNA

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan in 2016

Yesterday’s vote signals Turkey’s strong support of Qatar amid a worsening Gulf dispute.

Pressure is on

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE announced that it would be severing economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar.

They have ordered Qatari citizens to leave their countries, recalled their own nationals from Doha and closed air, land and sea borders to Qatar.

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The goal is to get Qatar to change its politics and stop supporting terrorism, the nations have said.

Qatar has responded by denying any links to terrorism and stating that it is a sovereign nation that will not bow down to outside interests.

Isolation won’t help

Yesterday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan expressed support for Qatar while being careful not to criticize Saudi and other allies.

According to Bloomberg, he said isolating the country and classifying it as a terrorist nation wouldn’t help solve any problems.

“I’d like to say that we don’t find sanctions against Qatar right. The most appropriate way for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to solve their internal issues is through dialogue. In this regard, we admire Qatar’s constructive and cool-headed approach.”

“We are ready to do everything to resolve other countries’ problems with Qatar,” he added.

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Elsewhere, Qatar has also found a friend in Iran, one of Saudi’s biggest regional rivals.

The country, which shares access with Qatar to the world’s biggest natural gas field, has offered food and other supplies to help ward off shortages.

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