Qatar, Turkey to hold joint naval drills in Persian Gulf: Report

DOHA: (Web Desk) Qatar says it is reportedly set to hold joint naval exercises with Turkey in the Persian Gulf waters as part of joint efforts to fight terrorism in the region.

The Qatari Defense Ministry said the Turkish warship TCG Gokova had docked at Hamad Port to take part in the drills, the Doha-based al-Sharq newspaper reported on Monday, without giving a date.

The most advanced Turkish military vessel will also join the maneuvers, the report added.

The naval exercises will be held in the framework of military cooperation and between Ankara and Doha to combat terrorism, according to the report.

The drills come at a time when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

They presented Qatar with a list of wide-ranging demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face unspecified consequences.

The demands included removing Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, shutting down the broadcaster Al Jazeera, scaling back cooperation with Iran and ending ties with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Doha has, however, denounced the demands as unreasonable, refused to meet them, and said that they were meant to force the country to surrender its sovereignty.

Turkey has signaled support for Qatar following the country’s isolation by several of its neighbors. It has also sent food aid to the Persian Gulf state.

Ankara has stepped up mediation efforts to settle the dispute, but it has failed to help bring the feuding sides closer to one another.

Late last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrapped up a tour of Arab countries with no breakthrough in the Qatar crisis resolution.

Last week, Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah told RT Arabic that his country’s military was in the final stages of preparations for joint exercises with the US and Turkish forces.

He further hailed the “special strategic relationship” between Qatar and Turkey, adding that the 2015 military agreement between the two states “can’t be annulled only because some countries decided to announce a blockade of Qatar.”

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