Brussels (Brussels Morning) Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledged on Tuesday that his country is finally ready to ratify the Paris climate change agreement, having originally signing the treaty more than five years ago.
Turkey signed the Paris Agreement in April 2016, which would commit the country to limit its greenhouse emissions, but its parliament has been slow to ratify the landmark international treaty.
However, Erdoğan has found himself under severe public pressure after this summer was marked by unprecedented deadly wildfires, flash floods and an accompanying drought, all of which have been linked to climate change by experts.
The domestic disasters have affected the public opinion, especially among younger Turkish voters, placing climate issues at the forefront of their concerns. Erdoğan’s made his public pledge to ratify the Agreement in New York on Tuesday, while addressing the UN General Assembly.
Erdoğan pledged that the Agreement will be submitted to the parliament for approval next month, emphasising that he expects it to be ratified before the Glasgow climate change conference, scheduled for November.
In a speech broadcast live on most Turkish news channels, Erdoğan devoted a lengthy closing section to his concern over climate issues, presenting himself as a staunch defender of the world’s ecosystems.
Speaking poetically about the millions of living species on Earth, embraced by the planet, Erdoğan stressed that it only expects humanity to respect the balance of nature “in return for this generosity”.
Erdoğan also indirectly pointed a finger at greater powers, noting that the world’s biggest polluters should also make “the greatest contribution” to fighting the climate crisis. He stressed that no one has the right to say “I am powerful, I do not pay the bill” this time, because climate change treats all equally.