By Ludwina Akbulut
Turkey is a beautiful country to visit. There are lots of ancient historical places, a big range of beautiful landscapes and much more.
You can almost not avoid visiting a carpet shop and for a lot of tourists this is their first encounter with handmade carpets and kilims. It is very cozy to sit in a carpet shop, sipping tea surrounded by all the nice colors and designs, and often the desire to have one of these pieces in your own house is born.
In most carpet shops ‘decorative’ pieces are sold. It is difficult to find good ‘collectable’ pieces. As long as the customer knows the carpet he purchases is a decorative piece and not a piece of collection there is no problem. Last year was a bad ‘carpet’ season. Because of different reasons there were very few sales. This year is even worse: almost no sales. If things do not pick up soon this will have a big impact on the pieces produced for sale in the country (mostly for tourists). Productions made for export do not have the same problem.
Turkish carpet producers and dealers think the only way to sell something is by keeping the prices as low as possible. The salary of the women knotting carpets is already at the bottom. In regions where women can find other work carpet knotting has already disappeared, and I am afraid this tendency will go on more quickly.
So to keep prices low there is only one other factor involved: the price of the material. It is sad to see the difference in quality between pieces made some years ago and today. And I am afraid of future productions.
Another thing I can see is that already a lot of carpets sold in Turkey are imported handmade copies of Turkish carpets ‘made in China’. As a dealer it becomes more and more difficult to find good pieces and even much more difficult to sell them. There are so many pieces on the market with the same ‘name’ and similar design but with different quality that novice customers get confused.
We still hope the tourist season will pick up during the coming months, but not to lose a big part of Turkish culture there should be a big change in the ‘business’ and in the buying behavior of the customer.
Ludwina Akbulut – September 5, 2003
Dekorativ Carpets and Kilims