With eye on Turkey, Israel debates Armenia deaths

June 12, 2012, Tuesday/ 17:54:00

The Israeli parliament has begun a debate over whether to recognize the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide.

Such a move would enrage Turkey and further strain the already tense ties between the two countries.

For years, Israel has refrained from commenting on the matter for fear of angering Turkey, which until recently was its closest ally in the Muslim world. But as ties have frayed under the Islamic-oriented rule of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Israel appears to be changing course.

Parliament speaker Reuven Rivlin denied that Tuesday's debate was related to deteriorating ties with Turkey. In a radio interview, he said there is no intent to provoke, only to remember.

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