Turkey agrees to deploy troops to Qatar

STRAITS TIMES | PUBLISHED: JUNE 10, 2017, 5:00 AM SGT

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with commandos after an iftar – the breaking of the daily fast during Ramadan – in Kayseri, Turkey, on Thursday. Mr Erdogan rapidly approved a Bill to deploy troops to Qatar after it was pushed through Parliament.PHOTO: REUTERS

 

STANBUL • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has approved legislation on deploying Turkish troops in Qatar, signalling support for the Gulf state as it faces isolation imposed by fellow Arab states over its alleged support for terrorism.

Turkey’s Parliament pushed through the Bill on Wednesday and Mr Erdogan’s rapid approval of it, announced by his office late on Thursday, was followed by its publication in the Official Gazette yesterday, completing the legislative process.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed relations with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and their arch- adversary Iran – charges Qatar calls baseless. Several other countries followed suit.

Qatar vowed on Thursday to ride out the isolation and said it would not compromise its sovereignty over foreign policy to resolve the region’s biggest diplomatic crisis in years.

Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told reporters: “We are not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender the independence of our foreign policy.”

He added: No one will break us.”

After an initial deployment of Turkish troops at a base in Doha, Turkish warplanes and ships will also be sent, the mass-circulation Hurriyet newspaper said on its website yesterday.

“The number of Turkish warplanes and Turkish warships going to the base will become clear after the preparation of a report based on an initial assessment at the base,” Hurriyet reported. It added that a Turkish delegation would be going to Qatar in the coming days to assess the situation at the base, where around 90 Turkish soldiers are currently based.

Turkish officials were not immediately available to comment on the report, but Hurriyet said there were plans send some 200 to 250 soldiers within two months in the initial stage of deployment.

Mr Erdogan also approved another accord between Turkey and Qatar on military training cooperation late on Thursday.

Both new Bills were drawn up before the dispute erupted. Turkey has also pledged to provide food and water supplies to Qatar.

Mr Erdogan, who has long tried to play the role of a regional power broker, said Ankara would do everything in its power to help end the regional crisis.

Meanwhile, Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera said it was under a wide-scale cyber attack that had targeted “all systems”, according to a statement released on social media by the broadcaster.

It said on Twitter: “Al Jazeera Media Network under cyber attack on all systems, websites & social media platforms.”

Following the initial reports of a cyber attack, some viewers in the region said they could no longer receive the broadcaster’s reception.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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