German chancellor visits Istanbul

13:28, March 31, 2010      

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who visited Turkey's tourist resort of Istanbul on Tuesday, praised the city as a qualified European Capital of Culture.

"Like Essen, Istanbul deserves to be the European Capital of Culture, and I hope you will have a beautiful day affirming close relations between Turkish and German people," Merkel said before listening to a concert to mark the election of Istanbul and German city of Essen as the 2010 European Capital of Culture.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who accompanied Merkel for the concert, said the concert of Turkish and German performers would enrich and make the day meaningful.

Merkel and her entourage also visited the landmark Hagia Sophia and the Blue mosque in Istanbul, and the German High School. Later, she went to the German Protestant Church in the famous district of Beyoglu.

The German chancellor arrived in Turkey on Monday for a two-day state visit.

In November 2006, a European Union (EU) committee declared Istanbul, together with Pecs city of Hungary and Essen, as the European Capital of Culture for 2010.

The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union for a period of one calendar year during which it is given a chance to showcase its cultural life and development.

Source: Xinhua
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