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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Turkey to train Qatari fighter pilots: reports

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A technical agreement obtained by monitoring site Nordic Monitor reveals that Turkey is reportedly planning to train Qatari fighter pilots.

Turkey is set to train Qatari fighter pilots and will allow the temporary deployment of up to 36 Qatari military aircraft and 250 personnel, according to a document obtained by monitoring and news site Nordic Monitor.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan forwarded a technical agreement, signed by Turkey and Qatar, to parliament for approval, the report said.

A justification was attached to the document, explaining that the agreement was aimed at contributing to the training and experience of Qatari fighter pilots within the framework of friendly relations and cooperation between Turkey and Qatar.

The agreement also highlights that at Turkey’s request, Qatari aircraft will be able to carry Turkish ammunition, personnel and humanitarian aid in and out of Turkey.

The term of the agreement is five years and will be extended automatically for one year periods unless either party requests a withdrawal from the agreement.

However, the Nordic Monitor reported that some issues may arise in the implementation of the new agreement.

Read also: Qatar receives first Saudi ambassador since 2017 blockade as relations progress

Should Qatari pilots receive training on US-made F-16 fighter jets, permission must be secured from the US.

Similarly, the Qatar Air Force may also need permission from France for Turkish pilots to fly on French-made fighting aircrafts. According to the agreement, one Turkish pilot must be present in the aircraft.

Qatar-Turkey relations

Allies Qatar and Turkey hold at least 62 agreements that cover numerous sectors, including the economy, military, safety, investment, energy, culture, intellectual property, education, and youth. During the past 12 months, the trade volume between Doha and Ankara has increased by 6%, reaching $1.6 billion.

Qatar’s total investments in Turkey have now reached $22 billion, with 533 Turkish companies operating in the Gulf country in numerous projects that are worth at least $18.5 billion. In turn, 179 Qatari companies currently operate in Turkey.

Both countries have been allies since 1972, with relations growing increasingly stronger in the past years, especially since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an illegal blockade on Qatar in 2017.

In 2015, Turkey established a military base with around 3,000 troops in Qatar led by the Qatar-Turkey Combined Joint Force Command.  The base was previously described by the the former blockading quartet as a “source of instability.”

Qatar’s arms imports have seen a 361% increase from 2016-to-2020, according to a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

In 2020, Qatar Armed Forces signed a deal worth more than $800mn with aerospace giant Boeing and major US defence contractor and industrial corporation Raytheon.

As a result Qatar received 36 F-15QA jets as part of the deal.

In September 2020, Qatar submitted a formal request to the United States to buy F-35 fighter jets. Israel reportedly opposed the purchases, saying that the deal would threaten Israel’s military presence in the region.


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