World Bulletin / News Desk
Joint Turkish-Qatari naval exercises concluded outside capital Doha on Monday, according to statements issued by Qatar’s Defense Ministry.
The rapid-response exercises, which lasted for two days, were conducted entirely in Qatari territorial waters.
“Qatar’s Royal Air Force and Special Naval Force… and the General Directorate of Coast and Border Security participated in the exercise,” Lieutenant-Colonel Nawaf bin Mubarak Al Thani was quoted as saying in the statement.
The maneuvers utilized several Qatari missile boats, Al Thani said, in addition to an advanced Turkish naval frigate.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Falah Mahdi Ahbabi, Qatari commander of naval formations, the joint exercises were devoted to practicing means of combating maritime terrorism and piracy and inspecting suspicious vessels.
An earlier Turkey-Qatar joint military exercise was carried out on June 19 at Qatar’s Tariq bin Ziyad military base.
That exercise was conducted only days after Turkey’s parliament ratified military cooperation agreements allowing Ankara to deploy troops to Qatar to train that country’s gendarmerie forces.
The agreements are intended to improve Qatar’s defense capabilities and support the country’s efforts to combat terrorism and contribute to regional security.
This week’s joint exercises come against the backdrop of a two-month embargo on Qatar imposed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
In early June, the five-state Arab bloc collectively severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Saudi Arabia also closed its land border with Qatar, geographically isolating the tiny Gulf state.
Doha strenuously denies accusations that it supports terrorism, describing attempts to isolate it as “unjustified”.
Turkey, meanwhile, a longtime ally of Qatar, has since rushed to Doha’s aid, dispatching vast amounts of humanitarian assistance -- in addition to troops -- to the beleaguered Gulf state.
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