The carpet dedicated to War Minister Enver Pasha in gratitude for the Ottoman victory at Çanakkale (Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial)

Rare Ottoman Great War carpet for Australian War Memorial

Posted on on 11 May 2017
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A silk carpet commemorating Turkey's victory over an Allied fleet in the Dardanelles has been acquired by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

The carpet was woven for the Ottoman War Minister, Ismail Enver Pasha, to mark the defeat of the attempt by British and French warships to force a passage through the straits in March 1915.

Its acquisition, in the run-up to Anzac Day 2017, will help understanding of the Turkish view of the WW1 Gallipoli campaign, the Australian War Memorial says.

The Ottoman victory at Çanakkale triggered the Allied landings of 25 April 1915, and the start of a gruelling eight-month struggle on the Gallipoli peninsula, culminating in the withdrawal of British, Commonwealth and French forces.


Described as 'outstanding example of late Ottoman textile art', the silk carpet depicts the principal battle sites.

It bears the words, 'Given with gratitude to His Excellency and Majesty Enver Pasha, the illustrious Vice-Generalissimo and Minister of War'.

Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial, says the carpet adds to the Canberra museum's extensive collection of items relating to the Gallipoli campaign, and is one of the few 'that speaks from the Turkish perspective.'

"It is vitally important that we as Australians reflect on all sides of the Gallipoli conflict," Dr Nelson said. 

"This acquisition demonstrates the Turkish response to the campaign and its importance within the history of modern Turkey. It will help foster a deeper understanding among Australian audiences of the international context of these events."

Turkey marks the First World War anniversary annually on March 18 as Çanakkale Victory and Martyrs' Day.

The Çanakkale Martyrs' Memorial, on a site looking over the Dardanelles, commemorates more than 250,000 Turkish soldiers who fought at Gallipoli (Photo: Centenary News)

Enver Pasha, as Minister of War, was supreme commander of Turkish forces during the Gallipoli campaign. His son Prince Sultanzade Captain Ali Enver Beyefendi migrated to Australia in the late 1960s and died in 1971.

The carpet acquired by the Australian War Memorial was purchased by a private collector in the early 1980s from a person believed to be a descendant of Enver Pasha. 

Only two carpets of this design are said to have been commissioned. 

The other, now on display in the Istanbul Military Museum, is believed to have been presented to either the Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha or Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish commander at Gallipoli and later the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey.

See also in Centenary News:

Allied naval assault on the Dardanelles.

The Allied landings at Gallipoli.

Source: Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Images courtesy of the Australian War Memorial (Ottoman carpet); Centenary News (Çanakkale Martyrs' Memorial)

Posted by: CN Editorial Team