This week, millions of Armenians around the world are marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, in which an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were systematically killed by the Ottoman empire between 1915-1917.

IBTimes UK spoke with Hagop Krikorian from the Armenian Youth Federation London (Ayf) – which strives to advance the goals of a free, independent and united Armenia – on the importance of this anniversary and how shedding light on the killings can help Armenians get a sense of their identity.

Turkey has always denied that a genocide occurred, arguing that the number of Armenians killed has been inflated.

However, the European Parliament recently ruled that the 1915 mass killings amount to genocide. The Parliament said that its 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".

One day before the ruling, Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan warned that his country would ignore any view by the Parliament regarding the mass killing. "Whatever decision they may take, it would go in one ear and out the other," Erdogan was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The resolution comes as tensions rose between Turkey and the Vatican, after Pope Francis referred to the killings as "the first genocide of the 20th Century" during a Mass at St Peter's Basilica.

The pontiff spoke about three tragedies in the last century. "The first, which is widely considered the first genocide of the 20th century, struck your own Armenian people," he said, and added that the other two mass killings were perpetrated by "Nazism and Stalinism. More recently there have been other mass killings, like those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia.

"It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood."