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EU Urges Turkey, Armenia to Normalize Relations

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European Commission calls on Turkey and Armenia to normalize relations amid row over Pope Francis's comments on 1915 events.

The European Union has urged Turkey and Armenia to normalize their relations following a spat prompted by remarks made by Pope Francis over the events of 1915.

EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday: "It is very important in our view for relations to be normalized as soon as possible between Turkey and Armenia."

"The (European) Commission encourages both sides to take extra measures to open the way towards a complete reconciliation," Kocijancic said.

Pope Francis said on Sunday that “the first genocide of the 20th century” had struck Armenians – a move that prompted Turkey to recall its ambassador in Vatican and also summon the Vatican's envoy in Ankara.

Turkey and Armenia disagree on what happened between 1915 and 1923, with Armenia saying that 1.5 million were deliberately killed and Turkey saying the deaths did not constitute genocide but were a result of deportations and civil strife.

"In the context of Turkey’s status as a (EU) candidate country we are following the issue of reconciliation and normalization of relations with Turkey," Kocijancic said.

The European Parliament is set to mark the centennial of said 1915 events in Brussels on Wednesday.

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