Pope looking at Armenia trip in June to mark anniversary

Pope Francis is planning a trip to Armenia in June, a year after he termed the Ottoman-era slaughter of Armenians a genocide.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, stressed Friday that the trip was still in its planning stages and that no itinerary had been set. But he said that the dates under study were in the second half of June.

Francis sparked a diplomatic incident with Turkey last year when he celebrated an Armenian-rite Mass marking the 100th anniversary of the slaughter and termed it the "first genocide of the 20th Century."

Turkey immediately recalled its ambassador in protest and accused the pope of spreading hatred.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I.