UPDATES WITH END OF MEETING, GIFTS EXCHANGED
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 Apostol 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 Apostol 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 Apostol Palace's Library Hall, which ended after an hour.
Erdogan’s delegation included the First Lady Emine Erdogan, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci and National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli as well as EU 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.