21:53 GMT +324 June 2018
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    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

    Turkey-Qatar Defense Cooperation Stepped Up As Regional Crisis Drags On

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    In mid-2017, Saudi Arabia and a range of other regional powers severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of funding terrorism and destabilizing the region. Qatar has denied the allegations, and is solidifying military ties and defense cooperation with Turkey to counter the threat posed by the Saudi-led bloc.

    Turkey signed an agreement with Qatar on Tuesday, agreeing to supply the Qatari Emiri Navy (QEN) with two training warships, according to Turkish media citing the chairman of the Anadolu shipyard, Sualp Ürkmez.

    “Qatar needs these ships to provide its naval personnel with sufficient training,” Sualp Ürkmez told Turkish media, while adding that the training vessels will be delivered within 36 months.

    Mr. Ürkmez went on to state that Turkish is one of only ten countries that can “design and build its own warships.”

    The deal was inked on March 13 at the Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX 2018) – a military exhibition which has seen over US$30 billion worth of arms deals signed in 7 years of running. 

    In late 2017, Turkey deployed additional troops to its Al-Udeid airbase in Doha, and is close to its target of stationing 3,000 troops in the country.  

    The UK and other world powers have called on Saudi Arabia to lift the blockade, but the Kingdom's Crown Prince's stance has proved to be unwavering. Qatar's economy has not significantly been affected by the sanctions, as most key economic partners, especially in Asia, have continued to trade with Doha. 

    Kuwait has mediated between the Saudi-led bloc and Qatar to deescalate the situation and facilitate negotiations. However, despite some dialogue, there is yet to be any significant breakthrough, and it remains unlikely Qatar will yield and make the proposed concessions.

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    Tags:
    warships, arms deal, military, Qatar crisis, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Sualp Ürkmez, Turkey, Middle East, Qatar, Saudi Arabia
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