The Grand national assembly of Turkey ratified Wednesday the Paris agreement on climate change, a move coming nearly six years after it originally signed the agreement. However, as the last G20 country to ratify the agreement, Turkey is still dissatisfied with its classification as a developed country under the agreement.
Despite signing the agreement in 2016, Turkey has long been hesitant to ratify it due to what the country perceived as injustices flowing from its classification in the Annex 1 list, the list of developed countries. Under articles nine through eleven of the agreement, developed countries are obligated to support the efforts of developing countries in fulfilling their obligations under the agreement. This extends to finance, technology, and capacity-building support. Ultimately, this translates to greater obligations for those classified as developed countries.
Even after adopting the bill ratifying the agreement, the lawmakers released a statement clarifying that even though Turkey had ratified the agreement as a developing country, they hoped that decision would not prejudice the country’s right to focus on their own economic and social development. They have also sent a proposal to the UNFCCC secretariat to remove their name from the Annex 1 list. This development follows president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s address at the UN general assembly last month. He called on countries with “historical accountability” for problems leading to climate change to bear the hugest burden of responsibility in its fight.
This request by Turkey raises several concerns that will need to be resolved under International law. The dispute is likely to be settled under the law of treaties (Vienna Convention on the Law of treaties), to which Turkey is a signatory, as the Paris agreement itself does not address reservations of this nature. There is also concern that Turkey’s terms of ratification will, ultimately, not be accepted.
The proposal has been placed as a provisional agenda for the upcoming climate change conference in Glasgow.