Critical agreement between Qatar and Turkey

Critical agreement between Qatar and Turkey
Critical agreement between Qatar and Turkey

A decision published in the Official Gazette in the past few days was found quite remarkable in both the national and international press. According to the decision, 36 jets and 250 military personnel of the Qatar Air Force will be able to deploy at military bases in Turkey to be determined by the General Staff.

According to the agreement, this agreement between the two countries will be valid for 5 years.

So, what does it mean for the elements of the Qatar Air Force to be deployed in Turkey?

First of all, it is useful to look at the relations between Qatar and Turkey, where such an important agreement was signed. Relations between LNG exporter Qatar and Turkey reached their peak with the Gulf crisis that started in 2017.

Qatar, one of the smallest countries in the Gulf, has been accused of “supporting terrorist groups” and “close ties with Iran.” In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut off all diplomatic relations with Qatar and began to impose an economic embargo.

Turkey, on the other hand, supported Qatar and sent some food and basic necessities to this country by air.

The crisis in the Gulf enabled the relations between the two countries to develop in the political, economic and military fields. In fact, the “Cooperation Agreement on Military Education, Defense Industry and the Deployment of the Turkish Armed Forces in the Land of Qatar” signed between the two countries entered into force in 2015. However, TAF elements reached Qatar after the crisis.

[Katar’a ulaşan ilk TSK unsurları, 2017. Fotoğraf: AA]

On the other hand, after the deployment of TAF elements to Qatar, another agreement was made. With this agreement, cargo planes belonging to the Qatar Emiri Air Force can be used jointly. Qatar has C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, which are far superior to those in Turkey in terms of carrying capacity and range.

With these planes, TAF elements were transported to both Qatar and distant regions such as Libya. It has been made easier for Qatari military aircraft to use Turkish airspace.

Speaking to TRT Haber, Aviation Researcher Cem Doğut thinks that the new agreement has taken the relations to the next level. Considering the content of the agreement, Doğut pointed out that the elements to be deployed will be warplanes and continues as follows;

“The Qatari planes, which previously came to our country for the purpose of carrying cargo or training, can now be deployed in our country for certain periods. With this agreement, we can expect Qatari military elements to be deployed in Turkey in a possible hostile attitude towards us.”

Qatari Rafale aircraft. International Anatolian Eagle – 2021 Trainings. Photo: Cem Doğut

[Katar’a ait Rafale uçağı. Uluslararası Anadolu Kartalı – 2021 Eğitimleri. Fotoğraf: Cem Doğut]

So, which elements from Qatar will be deployed in Turkey?

After the agreement was published in the official gazette, Rafale warplanes, which Qatar bought from France, came to the fore especially in the international media. Rafale planes produced by the French company Dassault are also in the hands of Greece, where Turkey has been under tension for a while.

At this point, the issue of which elements Qatar will deploy stands out as a very important detail.

In fact, Qatar’s Rafale aircraft came to Konya for the first time during the International Anatolian Eagle – 2021 Trainings and participated in joint trainings with Turkish air elements.
Cem Doğut pointed out that this learning process, which started with the Anatolian Eagle Trainings, will go to the next level with the deployment of Qatar Rafale aircraft in our country, and continues his words as follows;

“For the tactics we need to develop against the Rafale aircraft purchased by our neighbor Greece, it is very important to learn the capabilities of the aircraft thoroughly. I don’t think they will take sides in a possible conflict, but it’s clear that it will make the other side think before making a move.”

Does it increase our level of knowledge about competitor elements?

At the beginning of 2021, Greece signed an agreement with France for the purchase of Rafale warplanes. The agreement envisions Athens to purchase 6 new and 12 modernized Rafales. However, then Greek Prime Minister Kiryakos Mitsotakis announced that the number of Rafale-type fighter jets that Athens will purchase from France will be increased from 18 to 24.

It is as important as increasing our capabilities against these steps of Greece, as well as improving our level of education and our knowledge of competitors.

In this context, this agreement with Qatar is seen as an important gain for Turkey.

Qatari Rafale aircraft. International Anatolian Eagle – 2021 Trainings. Photo: Cem Doğut

[Katar’a ait Rafale uçağı. Uluslararası Anadolu Kartalı – 2021 Eğitimleri. Fotoğraf: Cem Doğut]

However, it’s still good to be cautious. Cem Doğut also points out that the details of the agreement are not yet known and continues his words as follows;

“Of course, we should not forget that the agreement has been made, but we do not know the details yet. Qatar has different models of aircraft in its inventory. Which and how many of these will be deployed here is also very important. Of course, it is more valuable for us that the planes are Rafale. This agreement will actually be an important acquisition for the Qatar Emiri Air Force. They will have the opportunity to train with the strongest air force in the region, not in terms of quantity, but in terms of quality, and benefit from their experience.”

The article is in Turkish

Tags: Critical agreement Qatar Turkey

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