NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg highlighted the importance of Turkey for the alliance in an interview Thursday with French newspaper Le Figaro.
“All allies have criticized the operation, but no one questioned Turkey’s place in NATO,” Stoltenberg told the paper, referring to Operation Peace Spring launched by Turkey in October.
“Turkey joined the struggle against Daesh by allowing its allies to use their bases. Turkey, the only country in NATO on the border with Syria and Iraq,” he said.
“Turkey accommodates 3.6 million migrants. Turkey is very important for NATO. To understanding this, [we] need to look at the map and examine the geostrategic situation in Turkey.”
Stoltenberg also addressed French President Emmanuel Macron’s criticism of the alliance, in which Macron described NATO as “brain dead.”
“NATO is vital for security issues. It proved this by protecting almost a billion people for decades,” he said.
Stoltenberg stressed that NATO is not a competitor with the European Union.
He noted that Canada, England, Iceland, Norway, Turkey and the U.S. are playing an important role in European security.
Reporting by Yusuf Özcan in Paris
Writing by Davut Demircan