Israel's (then) Foreign Minister (now Defense Minister) Avigdor Liberman attends a meeting with the business community in Uganda's capital Kampala, September 10, 2009. REUTERS/James Akena
CAIRO – 23 August 2018: Israeli Media reported on Tuesday that Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Qatari Foreign Minister Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani met secretly in Cyprus last June.
The report initially published by Walla!News indicated that the meeting took place on the sidelines of talks held by Liberman and his Greek, and Cypriot counterparts on "the possibility of constructing a seaport (in Cyprus) for Gaza as part of the long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas," according to The Jerusalem Post.
Researcher at Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies Edy Cohen tweeted that the meeting was also attended by Qatari Defense Minister Khaled Al Ateya as two main topics were discussed.
The first is a possible military cooperation to defend the princedom backing Hamas against any foreign invasion instead of relying on Turkish troops already stationed there. The second is reopening Israel's trade office in the Gulf state which had shut it down in 2000 amid Gaza War.
Israel and Turkey have already had many defense agreements and contracts since the last century, as Israeli air defense was allowed to train in Turkish airspace while Turkey used to purchase tanks, and missile systems from Israel.
The first batch of Turkish troops arrived at the Tariq Bin Ziyad military base in 2015. The camp, located south of Doha, is Turkey's first installation in the Middle East and can accommodate up to 5,000 soldiers.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a major supporter of Doha since Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE severed diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar on June 5, 2017 for supporting terrorism and fostering ties with their regional rival, Iran.
Turkey is considering the deployment of naval and air forces and troops to Doha, Turkish ambassador to Qatar, Fikret Ozer, told reporters at a press conference in Doha last March.