Turkey and Kuwait have signed a joint defense plan for 2019 aimed at boosting military cooperation between the two Middle Eastern countries.
“The signing of this plan is a continuation of the joint military coordination aimed at achieving greater harmony, exchange of experience and uniting efforts between Kuwait and Turkey,” Kuwait’s official news agency, KUNA, on Thursday quoted a statement by the army’s Moral Guidance Department as saying.
The agreement was signed during a ceremony by top military officials from both countries in the Kuwait City on Wednesday, KUNA added.
According to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, which also confirmed the news, the Turkish-Kuwaiti Cooperation Committee had held a series of meetings in the Kuwaiti capital on October 9 and 10.
Last year, the two countries signed agreements in several areas during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Kuwait and Kuwaiti Prime Minister Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah’s visit to the Anatolian country.
Turkey has strong diplomatic, economic and military ties with the Persian Gulf countries of Qatar and Kuwait, but its relations with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain deteriorated after the trio, plus Egypt, abruptly cut off ties with Doha last year and targeted the Persian Gulf state with an all-out economic blockade, accusing it of supporting terrorism, among other things. Doha rejects those allegations as baseless.
The bilateral agreement comes as the United States has recently announced its decision to withdraw four of its advanced Patriot missile systems from Kuwait, Jordan and Bahrain, a move that would considerably weaken air defense protection for the trio.
On September 26, Kuwait’s chief of staff, however, said in a statement that the withdrawal of two systems out of four from Kuwait was an “internal and routine procedure,” adding that the US decision had been coordinated with Kuwait’s military.