Merkel received by Gul
German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to Ankara and met with President Abdullah Gul at Cankaya Presidential Palace on Monday, after visits to the sites of German Patriots deployed near the Syrian border and the region of Cappadocia, known for its ancient churches, underground cities, fairy chimneys and valleys. She also visited the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk before proceeding for talks with President Abdullah Gul, who also hosted a working luncheon in honor of Merkel. During the meeting, Gul stressed the importance for Germany to support Turkey in its EU membership bid as part of the principle of pacta sunt servanda and pointed to historical bonds of friendship and alliance between Turkish and German nations. Gul also said that Germany was Turkey's biggest trade partner and said the volume of trade between Turkey and Germany reached $35 billion dollars in 2012. Gul added that the Turkish community in Germany with a population of nearly 3 million today and tens of thousands of German citizens visiting Turkey every year serve as a bridge of friendship between the two countries. As for Merkel, she shared her happiness to be visiting Turkey and conveyed President Gauck's best wishes to Gul. Stating that Turkish-German bilateral and multi-dimensional relations are deepening and developing in all areas, Merkel said that her visit covering three Anatolian cities would contribute to the existing cooperation between the two countries.