Reuters International

A Turkish soldier on an armoured personnel carrier waves as it is driven from the border back to their base in Karkamis on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Gaziantep province, Turkey, August 27, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

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ANKARA (Reuters) - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday he welcomed Turkey's efforts against Islamic State and that Ankara had a right to defend itself.

"We welcome Turkey's increasing efforts to fight against Daesh. Turkey has a right to defend itself. There have been many terrorist attacks coming from the Syrian side," Stoltenberg told broadcaster NTV, which dubbed his comments into Turkish.

Daesh is an Arabic name for Islamic State.

Stoltenberg is visiting Turkey for the first time since the July 15 coup raised concern about the cohesion of the alliance's second-largest military.

His visit also comes after Turkey launched its incursion into Syria last month, a military operation that has seen Turkey-backed rebels sweep Islamic State from the Syrian border.

(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz and Seda Sezer; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

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