Turkish president to visit Germany

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Turkey's President Abdullah Gul will begin a four-day visit to Germany on Sunday in a first presidential trip in nine years, an official statement said.

Turkey's European Union membership process, latest developments in the Middle East and North Africa as well as bilateral ties will figure high on the agenda of Gul's meeting with his German counterpart Christian Wulff, it said.

The two presidents will co-chair the Turkish-German Business Forum, while Gul will also meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, the statement added.

Germany is home to 2.5 million Turks. They are frequently under fire for a poor integration record despite having settled in the country decades ago.

Gul's visit comes on the 50th anniversary of an agreement that opened the way for mass immigration of Turkish workers, mostly from rural areas, to meet the additional labour demand during the economic restructuring of Germany.

Gul will also visit the Institute of Islamic Theology at the University of Osnabruck in German president's hometown.

Turkish-German relations have been marred by Germany's refusal, together with France, to allow Turkey's full EU membership. Ankara began accession negotiations with the EU in October 2005.

© 2011 AFP

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