Turkey will send troops to Qatar for World Cup security

The Turkish parliament approved on Wednesday the deployment of troops from Turkey to Qatar for security tasks at the soccer World Cup that starts next month.

In a show of hands, lawmakers approved a proposal to send an unspecified number of soldiers to the Persian Gulf nation for six months.

Fikri Isik, a ruling party lawmaker and former defense minister, said the mobilization will involve 250 soldiers and a naval corvette.

The troops will join the approximately 3,000 riot police Turkey will send to Qatar to bolster security during the international tournament.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked for parliamentary support to send the troops, explaining in the motion tabled last week that the Turkish soldiers will join forces from the United States, France, Britain, Italy and Pakistan.

The troops will be mobilized against “various threats and especially terrorism” in Qatar, which expects to receive more than 1 million visitors during the month-long tournament, the Turkish president said.

Turkey maintains close relations with Qatar and has a military base in the emirate.

Lawmakers from Erdogan’s party and his nationalist allies voted in favor of the motion. Opposition parties criticized the plan, saying the government tolerated Turkey’s army and police being used as employees of “private security agencies.”