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    Arab States Should Welcome Doha-Ankara Defense Cooperation - Qatari Envoy

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    Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain should not fear Qatar's defense cooperation with Turkey amid the Gulf diplomatic crisis, because it contributes to security and stability in the region, Qatar’s ambassador to Turkey, Salem bin Mubarak said Monday.

    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
    © AP Photo / Yasin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service
    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On June 23, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain demanded Doha to close Turkey’s military base on Qatar's territory, as well as to reduce relations with Iran and to shut the Al Jazeera TV channel. Doha was given 10 days to implement the demands, but the Qatari officials called the conditions impossible and urged for their revision.

    "There is no reason to be afraid of our defense relations with Turkey… No one has the right to meddle in or comment on our relations. This is a sovereign issue and there is no need to make a fuss about it," bin Mubarak said, as quoted by the Anadolu Agency.

    He stressed that the demands of four Arab states to close the Turkish military base were illogical, because Qatar's good relations with Turkey and cooperation with the other countries contributed to security and stability in the region.

    "We don’t see any reason that prevents us from having defense cooperation with Turkey. On the contrary, circumstances in the region dictate us to cooperate intensively and effectively in this regard… The two countries [Turkey and Qatar] are looking to bolstering this cooperation," bin Mubarak said.

    The diplomat stressed that the other countries, including the United States, which stationed roughly 10,000 soldiers at the al-Udeid Air Base, also spoke against the demands of the blockade states. He noted that the diplomatic crisis had had a negative impact on the image of the four states.

    "It [blockade] has also derailed efforts to fight terrorism and extremism in the region and is dragging us into internal battles that only serve the enemies," bin Mubarak added.

    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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    cooperation agreement, crisis, ambassador, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia
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