Yasin Aktay, a senior member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party has said that the Turkey’s military presence in Qatar “creates a balance in the region”.
“Turkey is protecting its own interests through the base in Qatar, rather than taking sides between the parties at odds. And Ankara’s interests require stability in the region. Therefore, Turkey would be against an attack on Saudi Arabia as much as Qatar,” Aktay said.
“There would always be forces to fill the vacuum when there are unbalanced situations like (developments in the Gulf region). And Turkey’s interests require it not to leave a power vacuum there. Turkey’s existence there prevents potential mistakes,” he continued.
The forces of both the nations carried out joint exercises in a sign of growing military ties between the states. The ‘Iron Shield’ exercise was carried out by the Qatari Emiri Land Forces in co-operation with the Turkish forces.
The Qatari military said the exercise was aimed at exchanging information, training senior military officials and improving co-ordination between the two forces to boost security. Also, a two-day joint maritime exercise (Rapid Response) was held between Qatar Emiri Naval Forces and its Turkish counterpart in Qatar territorial waters.
The Saudi-led bloc had demanded the closure of Turkey’s military base in Qatar, but the suggestion was not accepted by Qatar. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said the demands were “against international law” and rejected closing down the base.