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More Turkish troops arrive in Qatar

13 July 2017
Turkish soldiers driving ACV-15s at a base to the southwest of central Doha in a photograph released by the Qatari MoD on 18 June. Source: Qatari Ministry of Defence

The slow build-up of Turkish soldiers in Qatar has continued, despite their withdrawal being one of the demands that Saudi Arabia and its allies have insisted Doha complies with before they lift their blockade of the emirate.

The Qatari ministry of defence (MoD) announced on 11 July that a fifth instalment of Turkish soldiers had arrived in Doha to join their comrades at the Tariq bin Zayid Battalion base, under the provisions of the military co-operation agreement signed by the two countries. The ministry released photographs showing Turkish troops disembarking from a Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) C-130J-30 transport aircraft.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) did not confirm the statement, but Turkish newspapers reported on the following day that that a 45-strong commando unit affiliated to the Istanbul-based 1st Army Command had arrived in Doha. The Dogan News Agency (DHA) reported that another contingent of about 25 soldiers from an artillery unit would arrive in Qatar between 16 and 19 July with T-155 Fırtına self-propelled howitzers.

Neither country has revealed the total number of Turkish soldiers currently in Qatar. The Qatari MoD reported the arrival of the batches on 18, 22, and 39 June respectively, and released photographs showing Turkish soldiers and ACV-15 armoured personnel carriers being unloaded from QAEF C-17 transports at Al-Udeid Air Base. The TSK said the group that arrived on 22 June consisted of 23 personnel and five armoured vehicles. A senior Turkish defence official told parliament in May that the country had 94 soldiers in Qatar at that time.

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