President Mikheil Saakashvili met with Georgians in the Turkish city Bursa. (President’s photo.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili is on an official visit to Turkey, and has already held meetings with the Turkish prime minister and ethnic Georgians living in the northern industrial city Bursa.

After meeting with the prime minister, Saakashvili said they discussed the issue of Rabati Castle, along with other important topics.

“First of all we spoke about the issue of NATO integration, and Turkey promised to help us in this direction,” he said on a joint press-conference held after the meeting, “Our main guide to the NATO integration is Turkey.”

The two also discussed the economy.

Commenting on the reconstruction of Rabati caste, a hot topic during the last week, he said that the Turkish prime minister assured him that there weren’t any categorical demands about the castle.

“The prime minister agreed with me that the dome should remain gold. All the other issues should be discussed in detail together with specialists not to harm the interests of any party,” Saakashvili said.

He said he had agreed with the Turkish prime minister that Georgian specialists will be allowed onto Turkish land to study the Georgian heritage there, which is important, he said, because this cultural heritage needs to be saved.

“Let them leave Rabati dome alone. We need to conduct a respectful policy in regards to foreign affairs,” he added.

During the visit the president met with ethnic Georgians living in Bursa. The locals there told him about a desire to have close relations with their historic homeland. The president promised to grant citizenship to everyone who retained Georgian language and culture.