Turkey Vows to Keep Troops in Qatar Despite Arab States' Demands

© REUTERS / Qatar News AgencyTurkish troops seen at their military base in Doha, Qatar June 23, 2017
Turkish troops seen at their military base in Doha, Qatar June 23, 2017 - Sputnik International
Turkey will maintain its military presence in Qatar, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday, hours after Arab states agreed to extend a deadline for Doha to accept their demands, including pulling Turkish troops out of the country, amid the diplomatic crisis.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani inspect a military honour guard during a ceremony in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 - Sputnik International
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ANKARA (Sputnik) – Last week, Kuwait, which is serving as a mediator between Qatar and the Gulf states, handed 13 demands of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain over to Doha. The requests include the severance of Qatar’s relations with Iran, closure of Turkey’s military base on Qatar's territory and a shutdown of Al Jazeera TV channel. Doha was given 10 days to implement the demands. The deadline was extended until late in Tuesday. Qatar has called the demands impossible and urged for their revision.

"The Turkish military base in Qatar is a security issue not only for Qatar but for the whole region. The Turkish military presence there will continue. The attempt to link the Turkish military presence to the political crisis in Qatar may lead to serious mistakes," Kurtulmus said at a press conference in Ankara.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani speak, with unidentified Turkish translator at centre, during a meeting in Doha, Qatar (File) - Sputnik International
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He added that the crisis around Qatar had "no deep roots and was created artificially," while the Arab countries’ 13 demands to Doha were "unacceptable for an independent country."

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke off diplomatic relations and communication with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Later, the Maldives, Mauritius, and Mauritania also announced the severance of diplomatic relations. Jordan and Djibouti reduced the level of their diplomatic missions in Qatar.

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