Turkey deploys warship to Qatar for World Cup security

The Gulf state has partnered with other countries in an effort to secure the sporting event.

Turkey has sent a warship to Qatar to support security operations during the FIFA World Cup, set to begin on November 20, the Turkish defence ministry announced on Saturday.

The TCG Burgazada ship was sent to Doha from the port city of Izmir to participate in “Operation World Cup Shield,” a joint security operations for the tournament.

This follows Turkey’s approval earlier this month of a motion to send troops to the Gulf country for six months.

The Turkish government said in its motion that Turkish soldiers will work alongside security reinforcements from the US, France, Britain, Italy, and Pakistan as part of “Operation World Cup Shield.”

Turkey, which already has an army base in the Gulf country, can send about 250 personnel, according to a 2021 agreement.

According to the statement, the force will protect Qatar, its airspace, and its territorial waters against “terrorism and other threats.”

The Qatari and Turkish interior ministries had previously signed an agreement to join efforts in organising the much anticipated major event.

In December, Turkish Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu said his country will temporarily send 3,250 security officers to Qatar for the sporting event.

Approved in January, those to be deployed during the tournament include 3,000 riot police officers, 100 Turkish special forces, 50 bomb detection dogs and their operators, 50 bomb experts and other staff – all of whom will be on duty for some 45 days.

Soylu also added that Ankara has also trained 677 Qatari security personnel in 38 different professional areas, without providing further details on the specificities, according to Al Jazeera.

Turkey is also set to deploy chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence (CBRN) personnel during the World Cup in Qatar in November, the head of Turkey’s CBRN announced in July.

Turkish police going to Qatar are also being taught English and given guidance about what to expect when they arrive in the Gulf state, according to reports. 

The FIFA World Cup this year is set to accommodate an anticipated 1.5 million visitors at the region’s first-ever World Cup.

 Other security agreements

Beyond Turkey, Qatar has partnered with other countries in an effort to secure the sporting event.

Qatar and the US’ defence ministries are set to cooperate on technical arrangements during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a statement announced earlier this month. 

France is also sending 191 gendarmes along with deminers and sniffer dogs to help maintain security at the event, including one of its Air Force’s four E-3F Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), which can track hundreds of targets,  French media reported.

France agreed in December last year  to send personnel and material to the Gulf state, including a BASSALT anti-drone system that detects and identifies incoming drones.

Qatar has also signed an agreement with Morocco over World Cup security as it holds talks on the matters with Jordan, another country in the region.

In another agreement with a  European country, Qatar and Italy signed a deal last month on defence cooperation in preparation for the World Cup.

Last year, Qatar and UK defence officials discussed joint security for the World Cup, with the allies taking part in the ‘Watan’ exercise to test the preparation for the tournament.

Some 13 countries are set to take part in the Watan drill, authorities confirmed on Sunday.

Bilateral defence ties were further discussed in May during the visit of Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the UK.

Soon after, London announced it would be providing air policing during the event in Qatar – marking the first such time that Britain provides this level of security to a World Cup held outside the UK.

The Joint Typhoon Squadron, also known as 12 Squadron, is the UK’s first joint squadron since World War II and will be in charge of counter-terrorism operations.

The UK-based Typhoon squadron is headquartered at the Royal Air Force Coningsby in Lincolnshire, and has regularly trained in Qatar since its creation as a combined squadron in July 2018.

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