In view of rising regional threats, Turkey seems to be diversifying its potential allies, especially on the military and energy fronts.
According to a decision announced Wednesday by Turkey’s ambassador to Qatar, Ankara will have its first Middle East military base in Qatar, with 3,000 troops to be stationed in the country.
The base will be supported by air and naval units, special forces and military trainers. Joint training exercises will be held at the base, and Qatar will be able to set up its own base in Turkey.
Qatar is home to the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East, where about 10,000 military personnel are placed. Currently, 100 Turkish troops are providing the Qatari army with military training.
Aykan Erdemir, non-resident senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said Turkish-Qatari partnership is asymmetric, and based more on ideological affinity than realpolitik.
“Turkey has a wide range of security threats, and prioritizing the base in Qatar as Turkey’s first military installation abroad doesn’t address its immediate security needs,” Erdemir told Al Arabiya News.
“The unfortunate reference to Turkey’s and Qatar’s ‘common enemies’ could further alienate Turkey from its neighbors and increase security risks.”
Erdemir said it will be perceived in the Middle East as an alliance aiming to promote Muslim Brotherhood ideology.
He said he expects the military base to draw further criticism from Iran, Russia, Syria, and Iraq, among others.
“Turkey will therefore bear not only economic but also diplomatic costs arising from the base.”
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