November 12, 2019 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1482

6. Qatari Purchases Of Turkish Weapons And Military Gear; Military Industry Cooperation

November 12, 2019
Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1482

Yet another aspect of the military ties between the countries is Qatar's numerous purchases of Turkish weapons and military gear. These purchases are gradually improving the military capabilities of Qatar, which is among the world's largest importers of arms,[66] and also serve to fill Turkey's coffers. In a November 2017 interview with Turkey's Anadolu news agency, Turkish Ambassador to Qatar Fikret Ozer said that the defense and technological industries were the most important fields of cooperation between the two countries.[67] In an interview with the Qatari Al-Arab daily in late December 2017, he said that there was constant coordination between Turkey and Qatar in the domain of military industry, and that Qatar's first factory for military gear would be opened in Doha within two months, with Turkish support. He added that the two countries were discussing the provision of Turkish missiles to Qatar, and that a joint project was underway in Izmir to establish a factory for Manufacturing trucks and armored vehicles.[68]

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Qatari Al-Watan daily in late October 2018 that the relations between the two countries were "ideal," and that the cooperation in the sphere of military industry formed an important part of these relations, strengthening Qatar's military capabilities and promoting the security and stability of the entire Gulf region.[69]

Reports on Qatar's military purchases from Turkey have appeared in both the Turkish and the Arab media. It was reported, for example, that in 2012 Qatar purchased its first UAVs – ten mini-drones – from Turkey, as part of a $120 million deal for the sale of Turkish defense goods to Qatar within one year.[70] According to another report, between 2014 and 2017 the Qatari Coast Guard signed contracts with Turkey's Ares Shipyards for the procurement of 31 patrol boats and interceptor boats fitted with weapons and sensor systems.[71] It was also reported that Qatar police and armed forces had ordered 1,500 Amazon 4x4 armored vehicles from the Turkish Company BMC, almost half of whose shares are owned by the Qatari army. The vehicles are to be fitted with a remotely operated weapon station manufactured by the Turkish Aselsan company.[72]

Further reports of large-scale Qatari purchases of Turkish military weapons and gear appeared following Turkey's participation in the 2018 International Maritime Defense Exhibition (DIMDEX), held in Doha in March 2018. It was reported, for instance, that Qatar's navy had ordered two training warships from Turkey's Anadolu Shipyard,[73] and that Qatari officials had also signed agreements with Turkey's Ares and Yonca-Onuk shipyards for another 17 military vessels, all of which will be outfitted with weapons built by Aselsan.[74] Turkish UAV producer Baykar Makina signed an agreement to provide the Qatari army with six armed Bayraktar TB2 drones, three ground control station systems and equipment, and a UAV training simulator, and also to set up a drone operation center and network-based data tracing and archiving software for the Qatari army.[75] At DIMDEX 2018 Qatar also ordered 85 new Kirpi and Amazon armored vehicles from BMC,[76] and showcased for the first time its new armored vehicles manufactured by Turkey's Nurol Makina company. The vehicles were emblazoned with the title "Tamim's Lions," after Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Aal Thani.[77]

 Nurol Makina armored vehicle bearing the title "Tamim's Lions" (Source:, March 14, 2018)

In December, 2018, it was reported that Qatar had purchased Aselsan's state-of-the-art Sarp-Zafer weapon systems, to be integrated with Nurol Makina's armored combat vehicles. The system has automatic target detection and tracking capability, and can be loaded from within the vehicle.[78]

Anadolu report on the delivery of the Turkish weapons system to Qatar

Reports about additional arms deals between the countries have appeared this year. In March 2019 Turkey's Daily Sabah reported that Qatar had signed a deal to buy 100 Turkish Altay battle tanks, manufactured by BMC.[79] The same month, the Qatari media reported that Qatar's chief-of-staff had visited a drone-manufacturing plant in Istanbul.[80]

Turkish Altay tanks (Source:  March 15, 2019)

It should be noted that, on July 2, 2012, the two countries signed a memorandum of understandings on defense industry cooperation, whose purpose is "to provide cooperation in the field of Defense Industry between [Turkey and Qatar], by improving the defense industry capabilities of both countries through a more effective cooperation on development, production and procurement of goods and services in the field of defense industry." It refers to cooperation in the following areas:

"1. Provision of appropriate conditions for the technical working fields required by both countries armed forces in joint research, development, production and modernization projects on any program, planned and unplanned maintenance, repair, revision, modernization and production of the spare parts, tools, defense materials, military systems, technical demonstration and equipment.

2. Implementation of common research, development and production projects in the field of military equipment, in the territories of each Party,

3. Research, production and design of goods and services in the field of defense industry,

4. Provision of conditions for joint programs of production, development, technology and modernization concerning the defense industry products of both Parties, and if agreed upon, also of the Third Parties,

5. Implementation of one of the joint research and development projects based on scientific resources in the field of defense industry for production of the equipment required jointly or similarly between the two countries.

6. Mutual assistance in the fields of production and procurement of defense industry products and services, as well as the modernization of tools and equipment of the Parties,

7. Encouragement of accomplishment of agreements accorded between the parties on joint development and production for a third party.

8. Incitement of conclusion of agreements made between the Parties on procurement and production of defense industry products within the framework of this MOU,

9. Marketing of final products acquired with common projects to a third party by mutual agreement,

10. Exchange of scientific and technical information, the relevant documents and information about defense industry standards used for the assurance of the quality by the Parties,

11. Cooperation between military technical institutions, defense industry companies and maintenance and repair facilities; under the supervision of Parties,

12. Participation in the defense industry fairs and symposiums organized by both countries,

13. Mutual sales, purchasing or exchange of surplus defense industry products and services available in the inventory of the armed forces of both countries with another product or service."

The agreement is for a period of one year, with automatic one-year extensions unless the parties wish to terminate it.[81]

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