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Turkey summons U.S. ambassador over Biden Armenia genocide recognition

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Religious leaders sing at a ceremony at the Montebello Armenian Genocide Monument in Montebello, Calif., Saturday, April 24, 2
Religious leaders sing at a ceremony at the Montebello Armenian Genocide Monument in Montebello, Calif., Saturday, April 24, 2   -   Copyright  Damian Dovarganes/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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Turkey’s foreign ministry has summoned the U.S. Ambassador in Ankara over United States' decision to brand its deportation and killing of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire a “genocide.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal met with David Satterfield late Saturday to express Ankara's strong condemnation of the move.

“The statement does not have legal grounds in terms of international law," the ministry said, "and has hurt the Turkish people, opening a wound that’s hard to fix in our relations."

On Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden followed through on a campaign promise to recognize the events, which began in 1915 and saw an estimated 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians killed, as a genocide.

The White House's proclamation provoked instant condemnation from Turkish officials, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has yet to directly address the issue.

Turkey rejects the use of the term "genocide" on the basis that both Turks and Armenians were killed, and has called for the establishment of a joint history commission to investigate.

Armenians, however, have welcomed Biden's statement. Edita Gzoyan, deputy scientific director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, said she believed it would help to protect Armenians living together with Turkish communities in European cities and in the U.S.

"After all these recognitions," she said, "I guess that Turkish people... will start asking questions of their governments and will try to face their history."