The European Union is urging Turkey and Armenia to normalize ties after remarks by Pope Francis fueled their long-running row over the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks 100 years ago.

EU foreign affairs spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said Monday that the EU encourages the countries "to consider additional, meaningful steps that would pave the way toward full reconciliation."

Pope Francis on Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of the massacres by calling them "the first genocide of the 20th century."

Turkey denies the killings were genocide. Ankara recalled its ambassador and accused Francis of spreading hatred.

Turkey and Armenia signed an agreement in 2009 to open their borders and establish diplomatic ties but it has not been implemented.

The European Parliament will mark the massacre centenary in Brussels on Wednesday.