German President Christian Wulff on Tuesday began a five day visit to Turkey. The trip comes as controversy surrounds the integration of Germany's large Turkish minority. It was a key topic in President Wulff's meetings with Turkish leaders in Ankara.
A red carpet and an army band were rolled out in Ankara to start the first full day of President Wulff's visit.
Integrating Germany's Turkish minority of about three million people was the key topic of discussion. President Wulff told reporters that Turks are welcome in Germany. But he reiterated the importance of their integration into society, especially for young people.
"Children who learn German when they are young," he said, "speak better German." He added that they should be interested in German culture and the German way of life.
Analysts say President Wulff has come to Turkey seeking support for integrating Germany's Turkish population.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul called on Germany and Turkey to provide greater guidance to Turkish immigrants in Germany.
"We should all work together to find a solution," President Gul said, adding that "its the duty of everyone."
Integration figured prominently in President Wulff's address to the Turkish parliament. Mr. Wulff also used the opportunity to address other politically sensitive issues in Turkey. He called on Ankara to work to reunite the divided island of Cyprus. And he appealed to Turkish leaders to repair diplomatic relations with Armenia.
The German president also made a plea for the rights of Turkey's Christian minority.
"Religious freedom is part of our understanding of Europe as a community of values," he said. "We expect that Christians in Muslim countries have the same rights to live their faith publicly, educate new clergy and build churches."
Members of Turkey's Christian minority say they often are discriminated against by the Turkish state. Christian rights are expected to figure prominently during the rest of Mr. Wulff's visit.