Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said on Wednesday that only Ankara and Doha will decide on the fate of the Turkish military base in the tiny Gulf country involved in a major dispute with four other Arab nations.
The senior official told The Associated Press that the Arab states' pressure for Qatar to shutter the Turkish base amounts to a violation of Qatar's sovereign rights and urged the Arab countries to overcome their differences "in a brotherly" manner.
Kaynak said "those who will make the decision (about the base) are the two countries that made the agreement, the pact: Qatar and the Republic of Turkey."
He reiterated Ankara's position that the Turkish base is for the benefit of the region's security and that it "is not an occupation, an annexation force."
Kaynak spoke after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain dismissed Qatar's response to their demands for ending the crisis as "not serious."
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen cut ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. Qatar has denied the accusations, saying the move to diplomatically isolate it is unjustified. The four Arab states presented Qatar a list of demands, including calls to close the Turkish base in the country, shut down Al-Jazeera TV and cut ties with Iran.
On June 19, Turkish troops arrived in Qatar for a long-planned joint military training program, the Qatari Defense Ministry said, following Parliament fast-tracking legislation to deploy a military base in Qatar on June 7. Turkey has a military base in Qatar that currently houses about 90 Turkish soldiers.
The first batch of 25 Turkish soldiers who left for Qatar to be stationed at the Turkish military base have already arrived in the country. Turkey will also send five armored vehicles as part of the first unit of deployment.
The deal to allow the troop deployment to Qatar is meant to improve the country's armed forces and boost military cooperation and was signed on April 2016, in Doha.
Under the legislation, the military forces of both countries will also be able to carry out joint exercises. Officials from both Qatar and Turkey have said the move is aimed at contributing to regional and world peace.
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