ANKARA – Turkey on Wednesday threw its support behind Qatar, with officials saying it could fast-track troop deployment and provide crucial food and water supplies to the Gulf Arab country facing isolation from some of the biggest Middle Eastern powers, Reuters reported.
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Lawmakers from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) have proposed debating two pieces of legislation on Wednesday, Reuters reported, citing AKP and national opposition officials.
One of those bills includes allowing troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar, which was set up by Ankara as part of an agreement signed in 2014.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said isolating Qatar would not resolve any problems. Erdogan said Ankara would do everything in its power to help end the regional crisis.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is visiting the region to discuss the stand-off.
Turkey and Qatar, which have friendly relations, have both provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – a political party which has been banned by both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Both countries have also backed rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The base where the Turkish troops would be sent was designed to serve primarily as a site for joint training drills, Turkey’s former ambassador to Qatar, Ahmet Demirok, told Reuters in 2015.
A total of 150 troops have already been stationed at the base, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper. Ankara plans to eventually send a total of 3,000 ground troops there, Demirok said during his interview with Reuters two years ago.