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White House agrees to display Armenian genocide rug

WASHINGTON — Senator Edward J. Markey announced Wednesday that the White House has agreed to publicly display the “Armenian Orphan Rug,” made by survivors of the Armenian genocide.

The White House, which has the rug in storage, had blocked showing the rug at the Smithsonian for an event scheduled in December. Markey and several other members of Congress wrote letters to President Obama late last year, urging him to reconsider showing the rug, a gift to President Calvin Coolidge in 1925 to recognize American assistance to the survivors.

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The issue is sensitive because Turkey, a close US ally, refuses to recognize the genocide.

Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said in a statement that the rug could be displayed in the summer or fall, and that “a venue for the display that is appropriate, sensitive, and open to the public is currently being sought.”

“Displaying this significant piece of history will serve as reminder that we will never forget the Armenian genocide and highlight the continued need to work towards its proper recognition,” Markey said in his statement.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.
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