Turkey has no intention of shutting down its brand new military base in Qatar, it said in a rejection of a demand about the small kingdom voiced by other Arab nations. Ankara says the base benefits the entire Persian Gulf region.

Closing the Turkish base is reportedly one of 13 moves expected from Doha by a group of countries led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which last month declared a transport blockade of Qatar and downgraded diplomatic relations with it, RT reported.

“If there is such a demand, it will mean interference in bilateral ties,” Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik told the local broadcaster NTV.

On Thursday, five armored vehicles and 23 troops arrived in Qatar from Turkey as part of the military cooperation between the two countries. There are already 88 Turkish soldiers stationed in Qatar, and that number is expected to eventually reach 1,000, according to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet. The agreement to host a Turkish base in Qatar was signed in 2014.

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