UPDATE- Turkey's President Erdogan meets Merkel in Berlin

UPDATES WITH COMMENTS BY GERMAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN, MORE DETAILS, EDITS THROUGHOUT

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday at a working breakfast to discuss bilateral and international issues.

A German government spokesman told local media that the leaders discussed opportunities to “further strengthen the economic relations” between the two countries.

At the meeting, which lasted more than two and a half hours, the leaders also reviewed cooperation in addressing the refuge crisis, and exchanged views on the situation in Syria, according to the spokesman.

Bilateral issues, including cooperation in fight against terrorism, were the other agenda items.

Erdogan was accompanied by Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, and Technology and Industry Minister Mustafa Varank.

It was Erdogan and Merkel's second meeting during the president’s three-day high-profile state visit to Germany.

On Friday, Erdogan and Merkel headed a larger meeting between Turkish and German ministers and senior officials.

At a joint press conference afterwards, Merkel vowed to enhance cooperation between Germany and Turkey in the economy and energy and security despite political differences on a number of issues.

Following his official meetings in Berlin on Saturday, Turkish President Erdogan travelled to the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which has a large Turkish immigrant population.

In Cologne, Erdogan is scheduled to attend the inauguration ceremony of Cologne Central Mosque, run by Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs.

Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France.

Among the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, three million are of Turkish origin. Many of them are second or third-generations of Turkish families who migrated to Germany in the 1960s, and are well integrated in the country.

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