On October 7, 2021, Turkey ratified the Paris Agreement (aka the Paris Climate Agreement) with the publication in the Official Gazette of Law No. 7335 Approving the Ratification of the Paris Agreement and of President’s Decision No. 4618 on the Ratification of the Paris Agreement with Annexed Declaration. According to articles 90 and 104(11) of the Constitution of Turkey, and article 3(3) of Presidential Decree No. 9 on the Ratification of International Treaties, major international treaties are ratified by the publication of the president’s decision ratifying the treaty in the Official Gazette. The president’s decision must be preceded by a “ratification approval law” enacted by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the country’s unicameral legislature.
Turkey’s ratification instrument provides the following declaration:
The Republic of Turkey, on the basis of “equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” as clearly and accurately recognized under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 9 May 1992 and the Paris Agreement, and by recalling decisions 26/CP.7, 1/CP.16, 2/CP.17, 1/CP.18 and 21/CP.20 adopted by Conference of the Parties to the Convention, declares that it will implement the Paris Agreement as a developing country and within the scope of its nationally determined contribution statements, provided that the Agreement and its mechanisms do not prejudice its right to economic and social development.
Background to the Ratification and Declaration
Turkey signed the Paris Climate Agreement on April 22, 2016, but, until now, had not ratified the treaty. The Turkish government cited concerns about Turkey being treated as a “developed country Party” under the agreement, which thus subjected it to more onerous responsibilities than those of developing countries. The concerns reflect the county’s longstanding position regarding its status in the international effort to respond to climate change: Turkey is listed in Annex I of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) (UNFCCC), and is thus designated as an industrialized country Party with special reporting requirements regarding its progress in fulfilling its obligations under the UNFCCC. Turkey was initially included in Annex II of the UNFCCC, which lists industrialized countries with a special responsibility to financially and technologically assist developing countries in complying with their obligations under the UNFCCC. Turkey argued that its developmental circumstances did not warrant being placed in Annex II and requested its removal. The Conference of the Parties (COP), which is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC, approved this request and removed Turkey from Annex II by Decision 26/CP.7 in 2001. The decision “[i]nvites the Parties to recognize the special circumstances of Turkey, which place Turkey, after becoming a Party, in a situation different from that of other Parties included in Annex I to the Convention.”
In 2010, Decision 1/CP.16 of the COP further recognized Turkey’s circumstances:
[The Conference of the Parties, … [n]oting that Turkey is not included in Annex II to the Convention and as such is not subject to the commitments of Article 4, paragraphs 3–5, of the Convention and that Turkey is eligible for support under Article 4, paragraph 5, of the Convention … [r]equests the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention to continue consideration of these issues with a view to promoting access by Turkey to finance, technology and capacity-building in order to enhance its ability to better implement the Convention.Decisions 2/CP.17, 1/CP.18, and 21/CP.20 of the COP reaffirmed the COP’s position as to Turkey’s special developmental circumstances that justify its noninclusion in Annex II and its eligibility for financial and technological support.