White House to display Armenian ‘orphan rug’
Tolga Tanış WASHINGTONThe White House has decided to exhibit an Armenian “orphan rug,” in a move that could also be interpreted as a diplomatic message as debates between the U.S. and Turkey heat up over the latter’s stance regarding the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The rug, also known as the “Ghazir Rug,” will be displayed as part of an exhibition titled “Thank You to the United States: Three Gifts to Presidents in Gratitude for American Generosity Abroad,” which will be held on Nov. 18-23.
Citing transportation risks, the White House last year refused to display the rug, which represents the mass killings of Armenians under Ottoman rule in 1915-16.
Bernadette Meehan, the U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman, stated on Oct. 15 that the rug was woven by 1,4000 Armenian orphans in 1920 and presented to then-U.S. President Calvin Coolidge in 1925.
At the time, President Coolidge noted that, “The rug has a place of honor in the White House where it will be a daily symbol of goodwill on earth.”
The rug has more than 4 million hand-tied knots and took the Armenian girls 10 months to weave.
Relations between Turkey and the U.S. are facing ups and downs at the moment, with Turkey ruling out a weekend statement by Washington claiming that Turkey had granted permission for the use of its İncirlik base for attacks on ISIL.