Turkey ‘to establish military base in Qatar’

The base would be Ankara’s first in the Gulf region

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Image Credit: EPA
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the parliament in Ankara on October 11.
Gulf News

Dubai: Turkey will establish a military base in Qatar, its President Recep Tayip Erdogan was quoted as saying in Turkish media on Wednesday.

The comments were reportedly made by Edrogan during a trip to Qatar in which several agreements were signed between the two countries, including a gas agreement.

“Turkish and Qatari armies conducted their first joint military drill. Some of our soldiers, who will be deployed at a military base to be established in Qatar, have started their duties,” Erdogan was cited as saying in the Turkish Daily Sabah.

The base would we Turkey’s first in the Gulf region.

Erdogan also said that Turkey views positively possible investment in LNG storage projects with Qatar, hinting that its troubled relations with Russia could make such deals more attractive.

“We viewed positively a possible LNG storage investment or other steps with Qatar, as a result of obvious developments regarding Turkey,” Erdogan told reporters.

Turkey, which relies heavily on energy imports, has previously explored the possibility of such storage projects with Moscow. Relations between the two countries have chilled sharply, after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane last week.

Turkey and Qatar also agreed to visa-free travel between the two countries.

“From now on, visas have been lifted between Turkey and Qatar. The citizens of the two countries can now travel easily. This was a last minute step,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan and Qatari Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad also chaired the Turkey-Qatar High Strategic Committee’s first meeting in the Qatari capital of Doha during which 15 bilateral agreements were signed. Erdogan said that the visa-free agreement was the 16th agreement between the two countries.

Turkey and Qatar agreed to cooperate in several sectors, including education, environment, science and technology, maritime and energy.

Before the implementation of lifting visas, Qatar required visas for Turkish citizens with a standard passport in order to enter the Gulf country. The visa was obtained at Doha International Airport for 14 days for tourist purposes, reported the Daily Sabah.

- with inputs from Reuters

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