Hereke carpets are some of the finest hand-woven Turkish carpets around. But Turkey is losing this trade name to China after it abolished the municipality of Hereke.

Hereke, now an abolished municipality in the province of İzmit, is famous for its hand-woven carpets since the 19th century.

China is notorious for its long list of copyright infringements, but this time it has cloned the entire concept of Hereke, a world-famous traditional Turkish carpet business. Already producing fake and low quality Hereke carpets, the Chinese carpet industry has now built an entire Hereke Industrial Zone, allowing producers to legally tag their carpets with the Hereke brand.

The carpets are hand-woven, silk carpets and are branded with the name of the place they were first made, Hereke. However, Turkey unconsciously aided Chinese attempts to take over the global Hereke carpet market by

abolishing the municipality in Kocaeli in 2008. Hereke was formally a province bordering Istanbul on the Asian side but, due to having a population insufficient to justify a standalone municipality, the area was stripped of its name.

Local market is lost to China

China took advantage of this development by subsequently attaching “Made in Hereke” tags to its own machine-woven carpets, consequently monopolizing the global Hereke carpet market trade and sweeping Turkey’s original producers away with it. “Hereke” carpets constitute 25 percent of the $2 billion Turkish carpet market, and the Chinese have captured 90 percent of the local market.

“The Chinese can use ‘Hereke’ as a brand for their carpets legally now, as they have established an industrial zone bearing this name,” said Erhan Ör, the head of Hereke Carpet Makers Association. The low cost Hereke carpets from China and local Herekes are sold at the same price, causing both consumers and local manufacturers to suffer, said Ör.

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