While Rex Tillerson was actively seeking to resolve the Qatar crisis with his "shuttle diplomacy" tour across the Gulf, signing a memorandum of understanding with Qatar on fighting terrorism in Doha on Tuesday after spending Monday in Turkey and Kuwait, Qatar said more Turkish troops had arrived at a Turkish military base in Doha after Ankara fast-tracked legislation in June expanding the troop deployment to Qatar.
According to Gulf Times, the Directorate of Moral Guidance at the Ministry of Defence has announced the arrival of the fifth batch of Turkish troops in Qatar.
According to the directorate, the batch is joining the Turkish forces currently in Doha (Tariq Bin Ziyad battalion camp). Arrival of the batch will boost training tasks within the framework of military co-operation between Qatar and Turkey and to activate the terms of defence agreements between the two countries.
The latest "training" exercise at the Qatari base - which houses Turkish soldiers under an agreement signed in 2014 - has been ongoing since June 19, with the continued base existence one of the key demands in the recently rejected Saudi ultimatum. As a reminder, at the end of June, Riyadh laid down a list of 13 demands for Qatar, including the closure of Al-Jazeera television, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the the closure of the Turkish military base in the emirate. The UAE warned that Qatar should take the demands seriously or face a "divorce" from its Gulf neighbors. Ten days later, Qatar denied the accusations, calling the move "unjustified."
Even as the diplomatic crisis escalated, Turkey has been trying to do its best to mediate. Ankara displayed its support to Qatar as Parliament approved two deals to deploy troops to an air base in Qatar. Ankara's latest troop deployment to Qatar is meant to increase stability and help Turkish peacemaking efforts function better according to Reuters. The deal to deploy troops to Qatari soil, which is expected to improve the country's army and boost military cooperation, was signed in April 2016 in the Gulf country's capital Doha. The deal was approved by Parliament after a period of one year.
"This defense cooperation between Doha and Ankara is part of their common defense vision to support anti-terrorism efforts and maintain security and stability in the region," a statement by Qatar's Armed Forces said. The statement did not give the number of Turkish troops at the base or how many had just joined to bolster the deployment.