Duvar English/Anadolu Agency

No NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said, adding that the country is an important ally.

“One must acknowledge that Turkey is an important ally,” Stoltenberg told German weekly Bild am Sonntag on Nov. 3 and said that Ankara has “legitimate security interests.”

“Turkey has made crucial contributions in the fight against ISIS in terms of physically destroying the so-called caliphate. Furthermore, no other ally is hosting so many Syrian refugees, 3.6 million in total. And no other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey,” he also said.

Turkey’s recent military offensive in northern Syria raised tensions between Ankara and its Western allies, with Stoltenberg repeatedly expressing his “concern.”

While dismissing calls to suspend Turkey’s NATO membership or expel the country, Stoltenberg noted that unlike the European Union, NATO had no mechanism allowing suspension or expulsion of a member state.

The NATO chief added that the NATO meetings were providing an opportunity for the member states to openly and honestly exchange their views and discuss their differences.