ANKARA: (BY MUSTAFA MUGHAL) Turkiye will send more than 3,000 riot police to Qatar to help secure World Cup stadiums and hotels in a security operation funded by the competition hosts but under Turkish command, Turkish Interior Ministry said.
In preparation for the month-long FIFA soccer tournament, Qatar, which has a population of less than 3 million people 380,000 of whom are Qatari nationals, is short on personnels.
To secure the tournament, which is anticipated to draw an unprecedented 1.2 million tourists to the small but prosperous gas-exporting Gulf state, Qatar has turned to Turkiye, its closest regional ally.
Ankara will send to Qatar about 3,000 riot police personnel, 100 special operations police personnel, 50 bomb experts, 80 sniffer dogs, and riot dogs as per a protocol agreed by the two states and published in the official gazette of Turkiye.
The Turkish sources said, Turkish police will only obey commands from Turkish officials temporarily stationed in Qatar during the event adding that “The Qatari side won’t be able to order the Turkish police directly while all expenses of the personnel deployed in Qatar will be covered by the state of Qatar.”
The source did not identify the officer who will be the in-charge of Turkiye’s security operation, which will include the hotels where the 32 national soccer squads will stay in addition to the eight venues where matches will be played.
The protocol agreement says Turkey will also send senior staff to head the police teams and “a number of personnel for coordination” as well as one “general coordinator”.
Offer of Pakistan
Turkiye may not be the only country offering support.
A draft deal permitting the government to provide troops for security at the competition was approved by Pakistan’s cabinet last month.
The number of personnel that would be dispatched was not specified, and neither the state has indicated that a formal agreement has been reached.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, who organized the World Cup in Qatar, also did not respond to a request for comment.