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U.S. Defense Secretary Visits Key Ally Turkey

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has arrived in Turkey to reaffirm Washington's strong relationship with a key U.S. ally in the region.

In talks with President Abdullah Gul on December 16, Panetta is expected to discuss the recent turmoil in the Middle East where several longtime authoritarian leaders have been ousted by popular uprisings, and in particular the situation in Syria, where the United Nations estimates 5,000 people have been killed in nine months of antigovernment protests.

Panetta flew to Turkey from Baghdad where he attended a ceremony to mark the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq after nearly nine years of war.

compiled from agency reports

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