Erdogan sides with Doha, approves Turkish troops deployment to Qatar

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has approved legislation for increased military cooperation with Qatar, including a deal for the deployment of Turkish troops there.

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The move is a sign of support for the Gulf state in its dispute with its regional neighbours.

The legislation, which also foresees cooperation in military training, was rapidly passed in parliament on Wednesday, a day after Erdogan openly sided with Qatar and criticised other Gulf countries’ moves to isolate it.

Erdogan approved the legislation late on Thursday, his office said. It was published in the Official Gazette on Friday.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other Arab nations cut off relations with Qatar after accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Turkey and Qatar have developed close ties over the years and reached an agreement in 2014 to set up a Turkish military base in the tiny Gulf nation.

Government officials said the military would decide on the number of Turkish troops that would be deployed in Qatar and the length of their stay.

Arab countries have put 12 organisations and 59 people they say are associated with energy rich Qatar on a terror sanctions list.

The move, announced early Friday, is the latest development in the ongoing rift between Qatar and Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

A joint statement from the four countries said they sanctioned the groups and individuals because of “the continuous and ongoing violations of the authorities in Doha of Qatar’s commitments and obligations.”

Six of the organisations are already considered militant groups in Bahrain.

Among the individuals named is Youssef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born cleric considered a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist group.

Qatar said the terror listing is part of “baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact. “

AP

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