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Originally published Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 7:42 AM

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Merkel visits troops operating Patriots in Turkey

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting German troops deployed to operate Patriot missile batteries in Turkey.

The Associated Press

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ANKARA, Turkey —

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting German troops deployed to operate Patriot missile batteries in Turkey.

The Patriots were sent to Turkey, a NATO member, to protect it from spillover from Syria's civil war.

Merkel's two-day visit comes as Turkey grows increasingly frustrated over the slow progress in its bid for European Union membership. Before arriving Sunday, Merkel said she backs opening a new chapter in those stalled talks, despite being skeptical about Turkey's accession.

The chancellor's first stop was Kahramanmaras, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Syrian border, where some 300 German troops are manning two out of six NATO-deployed anti-missile batteries.

Merkel will hold talks with Turkish leaders on Monday. She is accompanied by a delegation of businessmen.

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