German Chancellor Angela Merkel has begun a sensitive two-day visit to Turkey. One of her first stops was a visit to German troops in Kahramanmaras. They are stationed there to operate two Patriot missile units sent by Germany – part of a NATO mission to secure Turkey’s border with war-torn Syria.
Germany and the Netherlands, along with the United States, have sent two Patriots each and up to 400 soldiers to operate them. The units, capable of shooting down missiles in mid-air, are being stationed at three points along the Turkey-Syria border.
Turkey, which is keen to join the European Union, is also seeing Merkel’s trip as an opportunity to strengthen trade ties with Germany – the EU’s largest economy.