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German Government Backs Genocide Label For Armenian Killings

The German government says it supports a parliamentary resolution recognizing the World War I-era massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces as a genocide.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said the resolution will be debated in parliament on April 24.

The announcement is a major reversal of Berlin's position and is expected to be condemned by Turkey, which counts Germany as its top trading partner in the European Union.

Germany is home to about 3.5 million people of Turkish origin.

If the resolution is approved, Germany would join France and 22 other countries that have recognized the mass killings of Armenians as genocide.

Turkey says there was no organized campaign by Ottoman officials to wipe out the Armenian population.

It also claims that far fewer people were killed than reported.

Pope Francis and the European Parliament referred cognized the killings as genocide last week.

Those moves were strongly condemned by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP