Ankara: Turkey will send more than 3,000 riot police to Qatar to help secure World Cup stadiums and hotels in a security operation paid for by the competition hosts but under Turkish command, a Turkish Interior Ministry source said.
With a population of less than 3 million — of which just 380,000 are Qatari nationals — Qatar faces a shortage of personnel as it gears up for the month-long Fifa tournament.
It has turned to Turkey, its closest regional ally, to secure the competition, which is expected to attract an unprecedented 1.2 million visitors to the country.
Under a protocol signed between the two countries and published in Turkey’s official gazette, Ankara will deploy 3,000 riot police and 100 special operations police to Qatar, along with 50 bomb specialists and 80 sniffer dogs and riot dogs.
“During the tournament, Turkish police will only take orders from their Turkish superiors, who are serving temporarily in Qatar,” the Turkish source said. “The Qatari side will not be able to give direct orders to the Turkish police.
“All expenses of the personnel deployed… will be covered by the state of Qatar.”
The source did not specify who would have ultimate oversight of Turkey’s security operation, which will cover the eight stadiums where matches are taking place and hotels where the 32 national soccer squads will stay.
The protocol agreement says Turkey will also send senior staff to head the police teams and “a number of personnel for coordination” as well as one “general coordinator”.
Turkey may not be the only country providing support. Last month Pakistan’s cabinet approved a draft agreement allowing the government to offer troops for security at the tournament. It did not say how many personnel would be sent, and neither country has said that a final agreement has been reached.
Qatar’s World Cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, did not respond to a request for comment.
Turkish police going to Qatar are being taught English and given guidance about what to expect when they arrive in the Gulf state, the Turkish source said.
Nearly 800 Qataris have also been trained by Turkey on issues ranging from “sports safety” to “intervention in social events”, the source added.