Turkey and Qatar join Saudi Arabian military exercise
Turkey and Qatar are among 23 nations participating in a 30-day Saudi Arabian military exercise called Gulf Shield, Arab international newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat said.
Air, naval, and land forces, as well as air defence and strategic weapons will be in use in the exercise, in which the United States, United Kingdom, Pakistan and Egypt will also be participating.
The aim of the exercise, as described by the Saudi Defence Ministry, is to gain experience and to develop this military and security experience under various circumstances in order to protect the security of the region and wider world.
According the several tweets on the drill, United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be another country joining the exercise.
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash has called for a “strengthened Arab union” to prevent the Arab world from being dominated by Iran and Turkey, moderate Turkish Islamist Karar newspaper said in late December.
The exercise takes place despite the ongoing crisis between Qatar and a series of Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia still have no official diplomatic ties with Qatar, and while many of the smaller Muslim countries involved in these military exercises have joined them in boycotting Qatar, Turkey has been one of Qatar’s firmest supporters.