Turkey’s Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz says a multi-purpose military base for the country’s air force and navy in Qatar will be ready within two years as part of a defense agreement signed between the two countries.
Speaking on the sidelines of the three-day Dimdex defense and security fair in the Qatari capital city of Doha on Wednesday, Yilmaz said the base will be the first Turkish military facility in the region, which will allow Turkish troops to participate in military operations in the Red Sea, Northern Africa, and the Persian Gulf.
“It will be completed within two years,” he added, noting that the deal with Qatar had been approved by the Turkish parliament.
“We want to achieve cooperation in the field of (military) training and exercises, and contribute to stability in the region,” Yilmaz claimed.
The Turkish defense minister also said that the deal was reciprocal, and that Qatari military personnel and aircraft are currently stationed in Turkey.
Qatar and Turkey concluded the agreement in late 2014. It was approved by Turkey’s parliament last June.
Turkish Ambassador to Qatar Ahmet Demirok announced last December that 3,000 ground troops as well as air force and naval units, military trainers and special operations forces would be stationed at the base.
There are reports that there are 100 Turkish troops currently in Qatar training the Arab country’s military.
Qatar is already home to the largest US air base in the Middle East, al-Udeid, where around 10,000 military personnel are stationed.
Qatar and Turkey are increasingly close allies, and have provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The two countries are accused of providing support for militant groups trying to overthrow Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, and both have condemned Russia’s aerial campaign against foreign-sponsored militants in the war-ravaged Arab country.
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