Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, centre, and his wife Emine Erdogan are welcomed by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, right, upon their arrival at the San Damaso courtyard ahead of their private audience with Pope Francis, at the Vatican. Picture: Gregorio Borgia/AP

Vatican City - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has arrived at the Vatican for talks with Pope Francis expected to focus on the status of Jerusalem and the fight against terrorism.

Erdogan is the first Turkish president to visit the Vatican in nearly six decades. Francis met with him during his 2014 trip to Istanbul.

On the eve of his departure Sunday, Erdogan said he planned to discuss the humanitarian situation in Syria, the battle against terrorism, Islamophobia, and the status of the city of Jerusalem.

Swiss guards stand at the attention as the car escorting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his wife Emine Erdogan arrives at the Vatican. Picture: Gregorio Borgia/AP

He said that the United States is "alone" in its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine arrive at the Vatican.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan left, and his wife Emine Erdogan, right, is welcomed ahead of their private audience with Pope Francis, at the Vatican. Picture: Gregorio Borgia/AP

Erdogan is scheduled to meet Italy's president and premier after the audience in the Apostolic Palace.

AP