Defeated: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Defeated: Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoganReuters

The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced on Monday it had recalled its ambassador to Brazil for consultation, Reuters reports.

The move came after the Brazilian Senate passed legislation recognizing the massacre of Armenians during World War I as genocide.

The ministry in Ankara also summoned Brazil's ambassador on June 3 over the matter, it said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

"We view the decision by the Brazilian Senate that distorts reality and overlooks the law as irresponsible and we condemn it," the Foreign Ministry said.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks, an event widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide.

Turkey has been on a diplomatic offensive in recent months to ensure the minimum recognition by parliaments of the genocide.

The offensive began when Pope Francis drew Turkey's wrath after describing the killings as "the first genocide of the 20th century".

Turkey summoned the Vatican's ambassador in Ankara over the remarks and recalled the Turkish envoy to the Vatican. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded with anger to the Pope’s remarks, warning him not to repeat such a “mistake” again.

Similar steps were taken by Turkey when Austria and Luxembourg recognized the Armenian genocide.

More than 20 nations have recognized the Armenian genocide. President Barack Obama, however, stopped short of using the word genocide when he addressed the issue, to the relief of Turkey, while Russian President Vladimir Putin angered Ankara by referring to “genocide” during commemorations of the mass killings.