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Turkey flexing military muscle in Qatar

Turkey is signaling a shift to "hard power" foreign policy by incrementally building its military presence in Qatar to a brigade-level force.
Qatari Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (2ndL) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L), walk past a guard of honor during an official welcoming ceremony prior to their meeting at the presidential palace in Ankara, Turkey, on December 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN        (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the key agenda items during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s July 23-24 visits to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar is Turkey’s continued military presence in Qatar. A Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries that cut ties with Qatar in early June is demanding, among a dozen other things, that Turkey close its base there.

Doha and Ankara firmly rejected the demand as “infringement of sovereign rights.” Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in his July 21 address to the nation, praised Turkey’s stand in the Gulf crisis, saying, “We express our gratitude to Turkey for rapidly implementing our cooperation agreement and meeting our basic needs.”

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