Turkey is now looking to Bangladesh in order to maintain its globally competitive position in handmade carpets, which are revered throughout the world. Nearly 100 Turkish carpet masters and designers have spent months training the Bangladeshi in producing Turkish carpet motifs. The project, which has been ongoing for a year now, has reaped success with Turkish rugs now being produced in countries such as Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan for one-tenth the price. As a result, Turkey has successfully captured the leadership position in this unique sector from its sole rivals Iran.
Speaking at the Domotex Carpets and Floor Coverings Fair in Hannover, Chairman of the Istanbul Carpets Exporters Union (İHİB) İbrahim Yılmaz explained that Turkey was facing challenges in manufacturing for its two billion dollar worth handmade carpet market.
According to İbrahim Yılmaz, by shifting production, the handmade carpet market is now regaining its previous strength. Emphasizing that when it comes to domestic production there are a number of socio-economic changes that are affecting the industry, Yılmaz states, "In carpet weaving regions, girls are no longer staying at home and weaving carpets and are instead going to school and choosing to work in factories that provide a more social environment. In addition, the cost of workmanship in Turkey is extremely high. The production of these sorts of Turkish rugs has now shifted to nations such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It isn't absolutely necessary to hand weave in order to do this business commercially. The best example of this is offered by Germany and we are following a similar model."
Antibacterial carpet prices multiply
İbrahim Yılmaz also remarked on the success achieved by Turkish rug companies in manufacturing antibacterial and antiallergenic rugs. "Children suffering from asthma are able to play on these rugs. In addition this increases the added value of these rugs. As a result, a rug that used to sell for five dollars has now begun to sell for 55 dollars."
İHİB handed out awards yet Germany did not issue visas
Yılmaz explains that the İHİB has been bringing the finalists from their design competition, which they have held for six years now, to international fairs in order for them to acquire further knowledge on the sector, which he says has gained the sector nearly 50 new professionals. "The second place winner of our competition was unable to attend this fair because Germany refused to issue the necessary visa. They refused to give a visa to our award-winning designer," states Yılmaz.
Area rugs are in Turkish hands
Pointing out that Turkey is also a global defining player when it comes to area rug trade, Yılmaz states, "Turkey's exports make up 55 percent of the total 3.8 billion dollar area rug trade. We closed out the year 2012 with two billion dollars of exports. We want to close out 2013 with 2.350 billion dollars," says Yılmaz.
This is a translation of an article originally written by Metin Can.