Qatar will base 12 Rafale and 9 Mirage 2000 fighter jets besides four Boeing C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft in Turkey for a period of five years for training purposes.
Doha will be able to temporarily deploy 36 fighter jets, according to a technical deal introduced to the Turkish parliament last month. The parliament needs to now sign the deal into law. The bill has attracted criticism from opposition parliamentarians.
As per information published on a Turkish government website (tbmm.gov.tr), an agreement pertaining to the deployment of 36 fighter jets to Turkey was signed in March 2020 by Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and Qatar Chief of General Staff Al-Ghanim. It allows Doha to receive aerial training in Turkey for the next five years with the possibility of a one-year extension. The agreement also includes the stationing of 250 Qatari personnel in Turkey.
Qatar is to inform Ankara 60 days prior to its deployment of jets to Turkey.
“The deal aims to contribute to Qatari military pilots’ experience and training by allowing them to temporarily use Turkish airspace and ports,” Turkey’s government said.
Turkish publication haberyildizi.com reported that it includes 12 Rafale and 9 Mirage 2000 jets.
Turkey on its part will reportedly place an ‘agile force team’ in Qatar to ensure safety during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The deal has attracted concern from the Greek media. “If the agreement is confirmed, it needs a thorough analysis and interpretation by the Greek side, dealing with its potential consequences,”defensepoint.gr wrote today.
The Greek concern stems from the fact that it has ordered Rafale jets and the basing of similar aircraft in Turkey may give the latter some advantages. Greece has simmering differences with Ankara over control of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Recently, Turkey, Qatar and Pakistan participated in Anatolian Eagle air exercises (21 June – 2 July) where Turkish F-16 jets flew combat training missions alongside Qatari Rafales and Pakistani JF-17 jets.