YEREVAN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday addressed the massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 after meeting with the country's prime minister, saying the atrocities committed against Armenians should not and would not be forgotten.

Merkel avoided using the term "genocide" in her remarks, sidestepping a possible repeat of tensions that flared with Turkish President Tayyap Erdogan after the German parliament in 2016 branded the massacre a genocide.

Merkel called the 2016 remembrance ceremony by the Bundestag an "important step in the culture of remembrance" but stressed that the language used was a political - not legal - classification. "We understand what atrocities were committed against countless Armenians. This suffering should not and will not be forgotten," she said.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Paul Carrel)

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