Turkish carpets undergo traditional sun treatment before export

Hand-woven carpets from across Türkiye are spread out on empty wheat fields during summers for sunlight as part of a meticulous process to sterilize them before being shipped to destinations across the globe.

In the southern province of Antalya alone, more than 20,000 hand-woven carpets and rugs are subjected to this traditional method, enhancing their colors and preparing them for sale.

The practice is especially prominent in Döşemealtı district. In the district, landowners or businesses first repair the carpets or rugs, some of which have a century-long history. These carpets are then placed in sterile pools to purify them from germs. Following this, they are laid out in the sun to fade their colors and turn them into pastels.

The hand-woven carpets and rugs turn the area where they are laid into a “carpet field,” creating a visual feast.

“Our fields do not remain empty. We use them for carpets in the summer and wheat in the winter,” said Hasan Topkara, who runs a carpet business.

He stated that they will lay nearly 15,000 carpets this year.

“First, the moths are cleaned and their backs are burned. We disinfect them and pastelize their colors in the sun.”

The process needs continuous monitoring, Topkara added. “We collect them before the rain. We constantly follow the meteorology forecasts.”

The sun treatment, occurring at regular intervals, ensures the carpets absorb moisture and heat, which solidifies their colors.

Halil Börekçi, a veteran in the carpet-making industry, explained, “Foreign substances soften with the effect of heat. The dew that falls in the morning softens the carpet and evaporates with the heat at noon, naturally cleansing the fibers of any germs.”

The traditional method not only ensures cleanliness and aesthetic enhancement of the carpets but also supports the thriving export business, with 99 percent of the carpets being sold abroad.

These handcrafted wool carpets and rugs, free of synthetic materials and dyed with root dyes, are sent to Istanbul after processing, ready to be exported.They are mainly destined for the U.S. market, with a small percentage going to Europe.

“Customers want these processes. Customers in the U.S. and Europe say that suntanned carpets fit the decoration well and sell faster,” Börekçi added.

Source: hurriyetdailynews

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