Turkish APC drives at their military base in Doha, Qatar June 18, 2017. Qatar News Agency/Handout via REUTERS
CAIRO – 7 August 2017: Qatari citizens demanded the removal of security barriers set up by Turkish troops in country’s capital.
Qataris voiced their condemnation of the security checkpoints on social media platforms such as Twitter and claimed that Turkish troops perform unsuitable and “unnecessarily long” searches that obstruct their usual commutes, according to tweets.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent 5,000 Turkish troops in six batches to Doha to secure Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and establish a Turkish military base in Doha.
The deployment of troops was part of an agreement signed in 2014 but was sped up in June of this year after severe sanctions from Arab countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain were set against Qatar.
The sanctions are attempts by neighboring Arab countries to have Qatar comply with their demands: closing down the Turkish base, severing ties with Iran, closing Al-Jazeera news channel -which has also been accused of promoting terrorism- and to stop backing the Muslim Brotherhood party in Egypt.
Qatar has not shown any signs of complying with the demands. Besides speeding up the Turkish deal, a trilateral meeting was held in Tehran on Saturday between Qatar’s Minister of Economy and Commerce, Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani, Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Minister, Mahmoud Vaezi, and Turkey’s Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci in order to further negotiate economic relations and discuss trade routes from Turkey to Qatar, passing through Iran.
This meeting as well as other actions, including bin Jassim’s attendance of Iran President Hassan Rouhani’s oath-taking ceremony and securing economic and trade projects in Turkey, continues to support Qatar’s stance against its neighboring countries.
“Turkish economy can satisfy all the needs of Qatar, from food to tourism, and from construction to energy,” said the Turkish Minister.
Early Monday morning Turkish and Qatari troops held exercises together as a show of their strategic alliance.
Qatari troops complained about Turkish treatment, citing having to perform a military salute to the Turkish troops, receiving direct orders from Turkish military leaders while Qatari leaders were sidelined and being ordered to clean weapons and equipment as part of their duty which was perceived as demeaning.