UPDATES WITH MORE MEETINGS
By Ilkay Guder and Ecenur Colak
VATICAN CITY (AA) - Turkish president began his two-day visit to the Vatican City Monday that saw him being welcomed with an official ceremony at the Apostolic Palace.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and first lady Emine Erdogan were initially received by Archbishop Georg Ganswein at the San Damaso Courtyard.
Following the official ceremony, Erdogan was welcomed by Pope Francis ahead of their one-on-one meeting at the doorsteps of Apostolic Palace.
The pope said "Buongiorno" to the Turkish president to which he responded with "how are you?"
Erdogan also expressed his gratitude for the welcome while the pope thanked the Turkish president for the official visit.
The two leaders later went for a closed-door meeting at the Apostolic Palace's Library Hall, which ended after an hour.
Erdogan’s delegation included first lady Emine Erdogan, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik and Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak.
The pope and Turkish president also exchanged gifts. Erdogan presented a 24-piece miniature Iznik pottery, which had been made with a ceramics technique popular at the time of Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent; he also gave him Mesnevi lectures in Italian and English.
Pope Francis gave the president a medal representing peace.
The president then held an hour and 10 minute long meeting with Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
He is also due to meet Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella at Presidential Palace in Rome apart from Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni at Prime Minister's Palace followed by a meeting with heads of leading Italian companies at dinner.