Turkish President Abdullah Gul (R) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speak during a press conference at the presidential palace in Ankara, on June 9, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN
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Iran and Turkey on Monday pledged to work together to stop extremism and bloodshed in the Middle East despite their deep differences over Syria's civil war."Iran and Turkey, the two important countries in the region, are determined to fight against extremism and terrorism," Iran's President Hassan Rouhani told a news conference in Ankara. He said the instability in the region benefited neither the neighbouring countries, nor the world, and said Turkey and Iran agreed to work together. Turkish President Abdullah Gul commended Rouhani's policies since taking office in August last year, saying they were helping Iran open up to the world. Iran, a Shia theocracy, is the chief backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Sunni-majority Turkey has moved from trying to encourage reform in Syria to overtly supporting the armed opposition.It was the first trip to Turkey by an Iranian president since former leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a "working" visit to Istanbul in 2008 . The last official presidential visit from Iran to Turkey was in 1996 by Hashemi Rafsanjani. Both Turkey and Iran face a threat from Kurdish rebels who wish to break away and form their own country.
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