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A Turkish F-16 fighter jet prepares for takeoff from Incirlik airbase in the southern Turkish city of Adana. (File Photo)
A Turkish F-16 fighter jet prepares for takeoff from Incirlik airbase in the southern Turkish city of Adana. (File Photo)

Saudis “Reject” Turkey Offer to Build Base in Kingdom

Saudis “Reject” Turkey Offer to Build Base in Kingdom

Saudi Arabia has rejected an offer from Turkey to build a military base in the kingdom, saying it “cannot allow” Ankara to establish such a facility on its territories, according to state-run media.

The official SPA news agency reported on Saturday that the kingdom would not be welcoming a Turkish military base similar to that built in neighboring Qatar since its “armed forces and military capabilities are at the best level”, Aljazeera reported.

Quoting an unnamed official, the statement said: “Saudi Arabia cannot allow Turkey to establish military bases on its territories,” before adding that Saudi armed forces were participating abroad, including from Turkey’s Incirlik base, “in the fight against terrorism and protecting security and stability in the region”.

The statement came days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Portuguese broadcaster RTP that he had offered to build a military base in Saudi Arabia shortly after work began on Turkey’s facility in Qatar in 2014.

“I made the same offer to King Salman ... and said that if it’s appropriate, we could also establish a base in Saudi Arabia. They said they would look into it but since that day nothing more came,” he said.

Last week, the Turkish Parliament fast-tracked a bill allowing the deployment of troops to its military base in Qatar.

Turkey has been leading efforts to defuse a diplomatic fallout in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed relations with Qatar on June 5.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday reiterated the need to resolve the crisis as soon as possible and urged the countries accusing Qatar of supporting “terrorism” to provide evidence.

 

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