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The measure still must be passed in the Senate, where its fate is less clear.

The measure put France on a collision course with Turkey, a strategic ally and trading partner. Turkey vehemently rejects the term “genocide” for the World War I-era mass killings of Armenians, saying the issue should be left to historians.

An estimated half-million Armenians live in France, and many have pressed to raise the legal statute regarding the massacres to the same level as the Holocaust by punishing denial of genocide.

France formally recognized the killings as genocide in 2001, but provided no penalty for anyone denying that.