EU Parliament recognizes Armenian Genocide
EU Parliament recognizes Armenian GenocideReuters

The European Union parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor of recognizing the mass-murder of Armenians by Ottomoan Turkey in 1915 as a genocide.

The decision to recognize the genocide - which saw more than 1.5 million Christian Armenians perish at the hands of Muslim Turkish forces - is sure to enrage Turkey's Islamist leadership, coming just days after the Pope similarly recognized it, comparing the Armenian Genocide to other atrocities including the Holocaust.

EU parliamentarians backed the motion, which stated that the "tragic events that took place in 1915-1917 against the Armenians in the territory of the Ottoman Empire represent a genocide," according to Reuters.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian hailed the resolution, and said it sent an important message to Turkey - despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowing to ignore the vote even before it was held.

"The Resolution contains an important message to Turkey to use the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide to come to terms with its past, to recognize the Armenian Genocide and thus pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between Turkish and Armenian peoples," Nalbandian said in a statement.

Turkey denies the massacres amounted to a genocide, although it admits some killings of Armenians by Turkish forces did happen.

While Armenia and several western states do recognize the genocide, most countries have yet to do so, mainly due to political pressure from Turkey.

The EU Parliament also praised Pope Francis for his comments on Sunday.

Speaking at an Armenian event at the Vatican, Francis told worshippers: "In the past century, our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies.

"The first, which is widely considered 'the first genocide of the 20th century', struck your own Armenian people," he said, going on to name the other two tragedies as the Holocaust and Stalinism. 

The Pope also condemned those who attempted to deny such crimes had taken place.

"Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it," he said.

Turkey reacted angrily to the comments, first cancelling a scheduled press conference at the Vatican, and then summoning the Vatican's ambassador to the foreign ministry for a dressing-down.

Erdogan then personally attacked the Pope in a public speech.

"If politicians and religious leaders do the job of historians then we will not get to the truth and only end with nonsense," Erdogan said at a speech in Ankara.

"Respected pope: I condemn this mistake and warn against making it again,"