Canada eases Turkey's refugee problem

Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on...

Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa November 20, 2012. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Daniel Proussalidis, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 2:32 PM ET

OTTAWA - Canada will take 5,000 refugees off of Turkey's hands over the next five years and resettle them in this country.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made the announcement Tuesday while in the Turkish capital Ankara.

"With escalating violence in the region, more people are seeking protection in Turkey, and our commitment to resettle 5,000 mostly Iraqi and Iranian refugees in Canada will help Turkey deal with this growing pressure," Kenney said in a statement.

Turkey used to produce refugees through what many call genocidal campaigns against the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian minorities there in the early 1900s, but now Turkey hosts refugees who've fled its neighbours.

Even before Turkey started taking in thousands of people fleeing Syria's civil war, it was accepting Iraqi Muslims and Christians seeking refuge from sectarian violence and persecution, along with Iranians forced out because of political and religious repression.

Kenney commended Turkey for keeping its borders open to refugees.

— with files from Reuters


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