NATO: Turkey an 'important ally' in fighting terrorism
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
"Turkey has been a very important ally in the fight against terrorism," Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.
His remarks followed a ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Stoltenberg said he had spoken with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the phone on Sept. 11, adding that Turkey is "one of the lead" nations in Afghanistan.
He added that Turkey is also a key country in the fight against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and without its contributions, it would be "much harder" to make gains against ISIL.
The NATO chief also praised cooperation between Turkey and the U.S. in northern Syria.
"This memorial symbolizes that while 9/11 was an attack against the United States, it was also an attack against all NATO allies," Stoltenberg said, speaking in front of wreckage from the Twin Towers.
He added that in the wake of the attack, for the first and only time in NATO's history, the alliance invoked its collective defense clause – Article 5, which says an attack against any country in the alliance is an attack against all.
Slain al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden claimed responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York's Twin Towers as well as on the Pentagon.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed, including citizens of 77 countries, on that day 18 years ago.
"On 9/11, terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers. But they will never destroy our way of life; our free and open societies," said Stoltenberg.