Turkey plans to build two military bases abroad, one in Qatar and a second one in Somalia. The new bases will serve as training centres for the military forces of Qatar and Somalia respectively.
The construction of the base in Qatar was announced three weeks ago. It will host 3,000 Turkish troops and probably 8 F-16 fighter jets of the Turkish Air Force.
Furthermore a Turkish Naval force will be based in Qatar, allowing Ankara to project power in the Persian Gulf, following the example of the USA, Britain and France.
The two countries agreed to build the base last year. The agreement represents a strengthening of their bilateral political and military ties. Turkish forces in Qatar will provide training to the local armed forces, helping them to improve of their fighting capabilities.
The Turkish initiative signals to the West and to NATO, the willingness of Ankara to engage in the Persian Gulf on its own.
Turkey and Qatar are currently in talks regarding a Status of Forces Agreement. This will allow Turkey to maintain a long-term military presence in Qatar. The Turkish-Qatari agreement could include a term that will commit both countries to help each other in case of external attack.
The size of the future Turkish military presence in Qatar is quite considerable bearing in mind that the Army of Qatar has 8,500 troops, 62 Leopard 2A7+ (under delivery), 12 light tanks AMX-10RC equipped with 105mm guns, 36 MOWAG Piranha MK-II 8×8 Armored Fighting Vehicles equipped with a CCTS 90mm guns, 158 VAB 6×6 Armored Personnel Carriers, 24 VAB 4×4 Armored Personnel Carriers and VAB 6×6 VCAC-HOT vehicles equipped with HOT anti-tank missiles.
In addition to that equipment the Qatari Emiri Land Forces has in its inventory 32 Fennek reconnaissance vehicles, 27 Renault Sherpa II vehicles and 24 PzH-2000 self-propelled howitzer equipped with 155mm guns (under order).
The Qatari Emiri Air Force has in its inventory 13 Mirage-2000-5 EDA/DDA fighter jets, which are going to be replaced by 24 Rafale fighter jets.
Furthermore the Qatari Emiri Air Force has placed an order for 24 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters and 3 Boeing 737 AEW&C aircraft, similar to the four E-7T AEW&C aircraft that Turkey has also bought.
Finally the Qatari Emiri Navy has in its inventory 4 modernized Vita-class Fast Attack Missile Boats, 3 Combattante III-class class Fast Attack Missiles Boats, 6 Patrol Boats (30m long) and 4 Patrol Boasts with 120 ton displacement.
The second Turkish base abroad is going to be built in Somalia and according to the Turkish Government the Turkish troops in Somalia will train the Somali National Army to fight the Al Shabaab insurgents. Turkey has had a considerable business presence in Somalia. The Turkish firm Al Bayrak has had the management of the Port of Mogadishu for the last two years.
The Somalian National Army is being helped to fight the insurgents by the troops of the African Union and American Commandos. The Turkish plan intends to improve the fighting capabilities of the Somalian Army and to help stabilize the country.
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