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Opposition turns up pressure on Erdogan over defense dealings with Qatar

Turkey’s political opposition has stepped up pressure on the government over its often-opaque dealings with Qatar as the country’s tank production contract, awarded to a Turkish-Qatari joint venture, remains bogged down.
A Turkish military M60T battle tank is seen along the M4 highway, which links the northern Syrian provinces of Aleppo and Latakia, before incoming joint Turkish and Russian military patrols (as per an earlier agreed upon ceasefire deal) in the village of al-Nayrab, about 14 kilometres southeast of the city of Idlib and seven kilometres west of Saraqib in northwestern Syria on March 15, 2020. - Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached a deal on March 5 to crea

The Turkish government’s ties with Qatar have put a spotlight on the growing problem of transparency and accountability in Turkey’s defense industry, with a key tank project awarded to a Turkish-Qatari joint venture appearing to be on the rocks. 

A raft of fresh deals with Qatar in late November rekindled opposition criticism that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s close bonds with Qatar’s ruler lack transparency and flout Turkey’s national interests. During a live TV debate Nov. 29, opposition lawmaker Ali Mahir Basarir fiercely criticized the government over the privatization of a national tank factory in Arifiye in the northwestern province of Sakarya. The Turkish military has been “sold off to Qatar” for $50 million, he said, adding that the factory was its “most strategic” asset.

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