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Turkey OKs sending troops to Qatar for World Cup security

People stand or walk around a sculpture next to a body of water.
People gather around the official countdown clock showing remaining time until the kickoff of the World Cup 2022 in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 25, 2021.
(Darko Bandic / Associated Press)

Turkey’s parliament on Wednesday approved deploying soldiers to Qatar to help maintain security during next month’s World Cup.

With a show of hands, lawmakers passed a motion to send an unspecified number of troops to the Persian Gulf country for six months. Fikri Isik, a ruling-party legislator and former defense minister, said the deployment would involve 250 troops and a a small warship.

The troops would be in addition to about 3,000 riot police officer that Turkey has said it would send to Qatar to reinforce security during the international soccer competition.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan requested parliamentary approval to deploy troops, explaining in the motion submitted last week that the soldiers would join forces from the United States, France, Britain, Italy and Pakistan.

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The force would be deployed against “various threats and especially terrorism” in Qatar, which expects to host more than 1 million visitors during the monthlong competition, the Turkish leader said.

Turkey has built close ties with Qatar and established a military base there.

The start of the 2022 World Cup has been moved up one day, with host nation Qatar playing Ecuador in the opening match on Nov. 20.

Lawmakers from Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party and its nationalist allies supplied the votes to pass the motion. Opposition parties criticized the deployment plans, accusing the government of allowing Turkey’s army and police to be used as employees of “private security firms.”

Earlier this year, the Interior Ministry announced that Turkey would deploy 3,250 police officers to Qatar. They include 100 special operations police and 50 explosives experts.


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