Qatari authorities were concerned that troops at the Turkish military base in Doha might pose a threat to the security of the tiny Gulf nation in July 2016, when a putschist attempt against the government of Qatar ally President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took place in Turkey.
According to secret military documents obtained by Nordic Monitor, Qatari authorities demanded a list of all Turkish officers who had arrived at and left the base, along with details of weapons and an ammunition dump.
The Qatari anxiety was reflected in a detailed report dispatched to military headquarters back in Ankara by Maj. Murat Er, an intelligence officer, with the approval of base commander Staff Lt. Col. Ali Çakan. The message, sent on July 17, 2016 from Doha, stated that Qatari authorities had been assured of no irregularities or mutiny at the Turkish base. To allay the concerns of the Qataris, Turkish troops had even conducted joint exercises with the Qatari armed forces, the note added.
According to the report Qatar sought all the names of Turkish personnel who had arrived at the base and their entry and exit dates, a request that was complied with by the Turkish base commander. The Qataris also asked for an inventory of weapons and ammunition at the base, which was provided. The report underlined that no vehicles had been moved out of garages to avoid sending any wrong signals to the Qatari side and that morning exercises had also been skipped for the same reason.
The Turkish ambassador in Doha, Ahmet Demirok, was also briefed on troop situation, the report underlined. As usual, diplomatic and political developments in Qatar were also monitored by Turkish officers and reported back to military headquarters in Ankara.
The coup bid on July 15, 2016 is believed to have been a false flag operation devised by Erdoğan and his military and intelligence chiefs to justify the mass purge of pro-NATO officers and replace them with pro-Iran Islamists and neo-nationalists. The operation removed generals who were resisting a Turkish military incursion into Syria and paved the way for the dismissal of some 140,000 government employees and the closure of some 180 media outlets.
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At the time the secret report from Doha was filed, the total number of Turkish troops in Qatar was reported to be 93, including 16 officers and 20 noncommissioned officers. Turkey beefed up its presence at the base in December 2017 and plans to add naval and air force troops and assets to the Qatari base as well. The base has the capacity to accommodate 3,000 troops.
An anti-Qatar bloc led by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates demanded that Qatar shut down the Turkish base.