Turkey and Qatar launched military exercises on the peninsula involving some 250 Turkish troops and 30 armoured vehicles on Tuesday.

Turkish frigate TCG Gokova had docked in Qatar's capital Doha earlier this week carrying 214 soldiers who would take part in joint military exercises.
Turkish frigate TCG Gokova had docked in Qatar's capital Doha earlier this week carrying 214 soldiers who would take part in joint military exercises. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several other Sunni-majority countries have severed relations with Qatar since June 5, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism based on its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Taliban.

Another point of departure is Qatar's ties with Iran, with whom it shares one of the world's biggest gas fields.

Qatar has denied the accusations and called the collective decision "unjustified." Kuwait, Turkey and the US have all urged a political solution as the bloc isolates Qatar using various ad hoc sanctions, including shutting down their airspace to Qataris and blocking import routes.

The dispute began in May when Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani was reported to have made statements on the state news agency supporting Iran. Doha said the statements were fabricated and disseminated via a hack.

Here are the latest developments in the crisis:

August 2, Wednesday

Qatar signs five-billion-euro navy vessels deal with Italy

Qatar has concluded a 5 billion euro ($5.91 billion) deal with Italy for seven navy vessels, the Qatari foreign minister announced, part of a military cooperation agreement between the two countries.

"We have signed a contract on behalf of the Qatari navy to acquire seven warships from Italy for five billion euros ($5.9 billion)," Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said at a Doha press conference with his visiting Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano.

UAE says measures against Qatar do not violate WTO agreements

Economic sanctions imposed on Qatar by three fellow Gulf states do not violate World Trade Organization agreements, a United Arab Emirates official said on Wednesday.

Doha launched a wide-ranging legal complaint at the Geneva-based body on Monday to challenge a trade boycott by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.

The sanctions "did not contradict the agreements of the WTO," UAE state news agency WAM quoted Juma Mohammed al Kait, an assistant undersecretary in the Economy Ministry, as saying late on Tuesday.

In what appeared to be the first response to the Qatari move, he said the boycott was in line with article 21 and article 14 of the General Agreement on Trade in Services, which allows such moves in the case of security exceptions.

August 1, Tuesday

Turkey, Qatar launch joint military exercises

Turkey and Qatar on Tuesday launched military exercises in the emirate that will involve some 250 Turkish troops and 30 armoured vehicles, reports said.

The exercises come as Ankara presses on with its unequivocal backing of Doha in the crisis triggered by the political and economic isolation of Qatar by Gulf and other Arab states led by Saudi Arabia.

Turkey has up a military base in Qatar, its only such outpost in the region.

The exercises got underway on Tuesday and would initially involve ground forces with naval forces later on, Turkish local NTV television said. An observation day involving top commanders would take place on August 7 to 8, it added.

For more on earlier developments click here.

Source: AFP