Turkey, Qatar to Hold Naval Drills Amid Crisis

Turkey and Qatar will hold joint naval drills on August 6-7Turkey and Qatar will hold joint naval drills on August 6-7

Turkey and Qatar will hold joint naval drills on August 6-7, as part of a two-stage joint exercise amid the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Doha and several other Arab states, Anadolu news agency reported Friday citing Qatar’s Defense Ministry.

The coordination of actions to be taken within the drills was discussed on board the Turkish frigate TCG Gokova. Qatar Emiri Navy Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammed Nasser Al Mohannadi participated in the discussion, RT reported.

The Turkish vessel carrying 214 participating Turkish servicemen has already docked at Hamad Port.

Earlier in August, the two states launched the first stage of the exercise on the ground. Over 250 Turkish servicemen and more than 30 armored vehicles participated in the drills as part of a 2014 bilateral security agreement.

The exercises will take place even as Qatar continues to be under pressure from four nearby countries that have issued a series of demands to Doha amid an ongoing diplomatic crisis.

In early June, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and meddling in their internal affairs. Several nations, including Turkey and Kuwait, have made efforts to act as mediators in the conflict.

Turkey has signaled support for Qatar following the country’s isolation by its neighbors. It has also sent food aid to the Persian Gulf state.

Ankara has stepped up mediation efforts to settle the dispute, but it has failed to help bring the feuding sides closer to one another.

Late last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrapped up a tour of Arab countries with no breakthrough in the Qatar crisis resolution.

Last week, Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah told RT Arabic that his country’s military was in the final stages of preparations for joint exercises with the US and Turkish forces.

He further hailed the “special strategic relationship” between Qatar and Turkey, adding that the 2015 military agreement between the two states “can’t be annulled only because some countries decided to announce a blockade of Qatar.”


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