Tehran Times, Iran
April 24 2004
Armenia Veteran Protests British Refusal to Recognize ‘Genocide’
YEREVAN (AFP) — An Armenian veteran of World War II decided to
return the medals he earned as a British pilot after Britain’s
ambassador denied that “genocide” was committed when the Ottoman
Empire killed up to 1.5 million Armenians, according to Armenia’s
count, at the end of World War I.
“I was deeply insulted by the British ambassador qualifying these
events as an atrocity, not genocide. I decided to return the medals I
received from Britain’s government, in protest,” Harutun Shiklanian
told reporters Friday.
Shiklanian’s parents fled their homeland after the massacre, which
had killed his grandparents, he said.
Shiklanian, who served as a pilot and photographer in the British air
force during the World War II, was awarded Britain’s Defense Medal
and War Medal last year.
“During the war I fought for human rights, but now I am disappointed.
I know you were not voicing your own opinion, but that of the British
government, and I feel it necessary to return my medals,” the
81-year-old veteran said in a letter to Ambassador Thorda
The issue of whether various nations recognize the “genocide” is one
of the most sensitive in Armenia.
The episode also remains one of the most controversial in Turkish
history. Turkey recognizes that 300,000 Armenians had died along with
a large number of Turks at the end of the war.
Abbott-Watt recently told the ***California Courier***, an
English-language weekly run by the Armenian diaspora in the United
States, that “the British government had condemned the massacre as an
(atrocity) at the time.