NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged on Tuesday the relevance of Turkey’s concerns on Sweden and Finland’s membership bids for the defense alliance, reiterating that it is an “important NATO ally,” according to the Anadolu Agency. 

“I also recognize the importance of addressing the concerns that Turkey has raised,” Stoltenberg told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He said Turkey “is an important ally” that has played a “key role in the fight against ISIS/Daesh” and has a “strategic geographic location,” which “is important for the whole Alliance.”

Stoltenberg pointed out that “no other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey.”

“We have to sit down and find a way forward,” he said.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began in February.

But Turkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups such as the PKK/YPG. The accession requires unanimous approval from all 30 NATO member states.