Statement by Ms. Nursel Berberoğlu, Head of Department Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Informal Thematic Debate of the General Assembly on Climate Change as a Global Challenge

Nursel Berberoğlu 01.08.2007
Madam Chairperson,
Distinguished Delegates,

At the outset, I would like to express our thanks for organizing this informal thematic debate of the General Assembly on "Climate Change as a Global Challenge". The meeting has provided us with the opportunity to discuss thoroughly the issue of climate change which is indeed one of the most pressing challenges for the international community.

As for the national strategies and international commitments of Turkey to address climate change, I would like to touch upon the following points:

Turkey fully supports global efforts under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) towards the implementation of measures and policies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. We are committed to combat climate change under the principles of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

As an OECD country, Turkey was included in Annex I of the Convention in 1992 and even in Annex II. Turkey's objections were not taken into account. As a result, my country did not sign the Convention. Turkey was able to accede to UNFCCC in May 2004, following the decision of Conference of Parties (COP-7) recognizing its special circumstances in Annex I and deleting it from Annex II which is in fact the list of relatively advanced industrialized countries who committed themselves to financial and technical transfers to developing countries.

"The First National Communication on Climate Change", which includes measures proposed to limit emissions, was submitted to the Convention Secretariat in February 2007. We have now started preparations for the National Program on Climate Change.

Turkey strives to continue its economic development following the principles of sustainability. However, as a country having fewer greenhouses gas emissions per capita than other OECD countries and transition economies, the major issue for my country is how to contribute to reducing the burden on global resources at a low cost and without jeopardizing its economic and social development prospects.

Madam Chairperson,
Distinguished Delegates,

Turkey is currently not party to the Kyoto Protocol. Therefore, we are not taking part in international negotiations on the definition of commitments and modalities for the post Kyoto period with the right to vote. However, in our capacity as an observer, we are actively following the said negotiations. Nevertheless, the relevant Government institutions are currently in the process of discussing Turkey's accession to the Kyoto Protocol.

Formulating quantified commitments for Turkey on the basis of 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels would be problematic as Turkey's emissions increased by almost 70% between 1990 and 2004, due to the acceleration of industrialization since the mid-1990s. Therefore, 1990 as a base year has become quite irrelevant.

As a developing country located in the Mediterranean basin that will most severely be impacted by climate change, it is imperative for us to be able to make use of funds and other flexibility mechanisms within the framework of UNFCCC directed towards mitigation and adaptation, as well as benefiting from technology transfer.

Turkey is willing to be able to host Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) projects in the post-2012 period as an Annex I Party with special circumstances that are different from those of other Annex I countries. We believe that Turkey, just like many other countries at a similar level of economic development, has a right to undertake CDM projects.

To conclude, I would like to underline that Turkey is ready to contribute to global efforts directed towards mitigating climate change. However, we think that the existing system under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol is far too restrictive and does not reflect the international reality. As it is not possible to solve the issue without participation of all major emitters, the post-Kyoto system should be as inclusive as possible, so that developing countries with high aspirations can contribute to mitigating climate change.

Consequently, we expect that the post-2012 arrangements will be broader, enabling rapidly developing countries to participate in the international efforts to deal with climate change, and introducing flexibility mechanisms that encourage energy efficiency measures, usage of renewable energy, and funds that support long-term investments in projects on new and clean technologies.

Thank you.