Turkey’s Handmade Carpet Industry

As one of the earliest known sites of human civilization, Turkey possesses some of the most long standing weaving traditions worldwide. The region’s handmade woven carpets are crafted in a unique style that assimilates the motifs and patterns of the various peoples that have dwelled in this region over time into a cohesive, distinct design. Rugs from this area are known for their star and medallion designs and use of silky, shimmering wool in tones like warm terracotta, cool blue, saffron, and grey.

In recent decades, however, Turkey’s handmade carpet industry has been in decline, even as the country has observed economic growth in other sectors. A standard of poor working conditions such as exploitative wages, lack of social care, and insufficient facilities have been major contributors to this decline, and have placed this ancient and traditional knowledge at risk of being lost to time.

Label STEP in Turkey

STEP began its work in Turkey in 2020 with the introduction of a new fair trade workshop established by Kirkit Rugs, a STEP Certified Fair Trade Partner. STEP has since been working to monitor and improve working conditions, increase weaver capacity, and promote a sustainable, equitable carpet industry. The focus of STEP’s mandate in Turkey is to help support a beneficial and equitable continuation of the country’s long standing weaving traditions.

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