ROME, Italy — Pope Francis will travel to Armenia on Friday to start a three-day trip that will test the Vatican’s already-strained relations with Turkey.
The pope’s visit is officially to honor the country’s status as the first nation to recognize Christianity.
However, there will be intense focus on the words he chooses to describe the slaughter of up to 1.5 million ethnic Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915.
More than 20 nations have labeled the systematic killing of Armenians a genocide. Turkey firmly rejects the term, saying the deaths were collateral damage in its fight to curb the rise of Armenian separatists during World War I.