Advanced Turkish naval frigate and Qatari missile boats participated in a joint naval exercises that both the countries had held for two days in Qatari Territorial waters near Doha.
The rapid-response exercises was held offshore off Doha and was concluded Monday. “Qatar’s Royal Air Force and Special Naval Force… and the General Directorate of Coast and Border Security participated in the exercise,” Lieutenant-Colonel Nawaf bin Mubarak al-Thani was quoted as saying by Hurriyet Daily News Monday.
The maneuvers utilized several Qatari missile boats, al-Thani said, in addition to an advanced Turkish naval frigate.
Lieutenant-Colonel Falah Mahdi Ahbabi, Qatari commander of naval formations said, the joint exercises were dedicated to practicing means of combating maritime terrorism and piracy and inspecting suspicious vessels.
An earlier Turkey-Qatar joint military exercise was carried out on June 19 at Qatar’s Tariq bin Ziyad military base that conducted only days after Turkey’s parliament ratified military cooperation agreements allowing Ankara to deploy troops to Qatar to train that country’s gendarmerie forces.
The agreements are intended to improve Qatar’s defense capabilities and support the country’s efforts to combat terrorism and contribute to regional security.
However, some Saudi and UAE based news outlets see the exercise as attempt to warn Qatar's neighbours against invading the tiny state.
This week’s joint exercises come against the backdrop of a two-month embargo on Qatar imposed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain which accuse Dona of supporting terrorism.
In early June, the five-state Arab bloc collectively severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Saudi Arabia also closed its land border with Qatar, geographically isolating the tiny Gulf state.
Doha denies accusations that it supports terrorism. Turkey, meanwhile, a longtime ally of Qatar, has since rushed to Doha’s aid, dispatching vast amounts of humanitarian assistance in addition to troops.