Qatar’s Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah said no country has the right to call for the closure of the Turkish base in Doha.
Al-Attiyah said everyone knew about the Turkish base in Qatar a long time ago.
“Unfortunately, we did not choose the time to attack, besiege and boycott Qatar, they (Saudi-led bloc) did choose the time so they cannot come and ask us to close a base where everybody knows about it from a long time back and this is considered a relation between two sovereign state countries,” he said. “This defense cooperation between Doha and Ankara is part of their common defense vision to support anti-terrorism efforts and maintain security and stability in the region,” a statement by Qatar’s Armed Forces said.
On his official Twitter account, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs wrote “We are headed for a long estrangement … we are very far from a political solution involving a change in Qatar’s course, and in light of that nothing will change and we have to look for a different format of relations,” Anwar al-Gargash said. An adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, in defiance of a Saudi-led bloc’s demand that the Turkish military pull out of the emirate.
“Turkey’s steady buildup continues there, protecting the border and the security of the Qatari government,” adviser Ilnur Cevik sai. Turkey has deployed dozens of commandos and some artillery units in Qatar.
“While the size of the Turkish military presence in Qatar is not big, it serves as a deterrent against moves that could threaten the Qatari government or its land border,” said Nihat Ali Ozcan, an analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation in Ankara.
The two countries are expected to hold a joint military drill this month after the arrival of a 25-member Turkish artillery unit. Turkey already has about 150 troops in Qatar, Turkish newspaper reported.
Doha and Ankara signed a defense agreement in 2014 under which Turkey established a base in the Gulf country at the request of the Qatari government.
Last month, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, U.A.E. and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, and imposed a sea and land blockade on it, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
The four states presented a list of demands for Qatar to end the blockade, including the closure of the Al Jazeera television and the Turkish base in Doha, or face further sanctions.
Doha denies the accusation, saying the blockade is a violation of international law.