Speech given by H.E. Ambassador Selçuk Ünal on the Occasion of the Protocol on the Restoration of the Hereke Carpet at the Peace Palace (16 May 2023)
Restoration of 112-year-old Hereke Carpet of Peace Palace
In 1907, when the construction of the building of the Peace Palace began, States were asked to contribute to its construction and furnishing.
The Ottoman Empire responded to this call by pledging to donate a piece that was exemplary of its own fine furnishing tradition, namely an original "Hereke" carpet.
A Hereke carpet is named after its place of origin, the city of Hereke in Türkiye. The carpets from Hereke are worldwide known for their extraordinary quality and craftsmanship and are mostly woven to order and mass.
The carpet for the Peace Palace was commissioned and prepared to mass. After its completion, it was donated as a gift to the Netherlands in 1911. The 160 m2 and 700 kg. carpet in the Peace Palace is said to be the largest Hereke carpet outside Türkiye.
For us, it is a great pleasure to see that this common cultural heritage and stately gesture, from an empire to another of the time, decorates the floor of one of the most prestigous rooms of the Palace, where most official ceremonies and conferences are held, namely in the Japanese Room.
For more than 112 years, this carpet has been part of the inventory of the Palace. It witnessed a lot treaties signed, numerous negotiations held and thousands of discussions conducted. It literally witnessed history.
Although Hereke carpets are known to be very durable, this Hereke in the Peace Palace is now in need of restoration.
The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism has proposed to carry out the restoration of the carpet. A Protocol on the terms and conditions of this restoration was finalized.
Today, its journey to Türkiye, its country of origin, begins. After restoration by a highly skilled team with decades of expertise, it will return to its home, the Peace Palace.
The Peace Palace houses important institutions such as the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the United Nations International Court of Justice, The Hague Academy of International Law and the Peace Palace Library.
It is one of the most symbolic buildings of the city of the Hague.
With that gesture at the time, the Ottoman Empire not only showed its belief to international peace, but, more than that, it displayed the importance attached to cordial relations with the Kingdom of Netherlands. With this gesture of today, Türkiye also continues to give the message that it is supporting work and purpose of these Courts within the Palace in particular, and the efforts for international peace in general. We also see today as an important symbol of Turkish-Dutch friendship and alliance - where our ancestors have started five centuries ago.
We are happy to facilitate the project in this fruitful and meaningful cooperation between the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Carnegie Foundation, as the management of the Peace Palace.
We hope that once restored, the carpet will continue to be a symbol of our very special relations with the Netherlands from here to eternity.
İnsanlar yasadıkça, insanlık yaşadıkça, buradan sonsuzluğa kadar….
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