Germany's Westerwelle wraps up Turkey trip with Istanbul visit
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle wraps up his trip to Turkey Friday with face-to-face talks with Turkey's top EU negotiator - and a planned meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew I, leader of the Orthodox church, DPA reported.
Westerwelle comes to Istanbul, one of 2010's European capitals of culture, after a day of political meetings in the capital, Ankara.
During a press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Westerwelle affirmed Germany's commitment to any agreements made between Turkey and the EU and urged Ankara to maintain its reform process.
Westerwelle heads the Free Democrat Party (FDP), the new junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition. This is his first extended trip abroad since taking office in October.
Asked at a press conference on Thursday about his coalition partners' critical position regarding Turkey's EU membership, Westerwelle answered: "I am speaking here not as a tourist in shorts but as a member of the coalition government."
Several Turkish newspapers their headlines picked up that quote in the coverage of the trip.
From Istanbul, he will head to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).