President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Tuesday that Turkey was ready to finally ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Erdogan’s announcement at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly followed a year of violent weather events in Turkey, including wildfires and flash floods, which have claimed about 100 lives.
Turkey signed in April 2016 the landmark agreement to limit dangerous emissions that contribute to global warming, which scientists blame for increasingly extreme and more frequent weather events.
But he has yet to formally ratify the deal through a vote in parliament.
Erdogan told the UN General Assembly that Turkey now intends to complete the ratification process in time for the UN Climate Change Conference in November in Glasgow.
“I would like to announce to the whole world here from the United Nations General Assembly the decision we have made following the progress made under the agreement. We plan to present the Paris Climate Agreement for approval to our parliament next month,” he added . Erdogan said.
“Before the United Nations conference on climate change, to be held in Glasgow, we anticipate the ratification phase of the target carbon neutral agreement.”
‘Respect the balance of nature’
Erdogan has been under intense political pressure at home for his handling of the deadly wildfires and flash floods that hit the southern Mediterranean resort regions and the northern Black Sea coast in August.
The two disasters and the accompanying drought in southeastern Turkey have increased the importance of environmental issues on the minds of voters, especially for the younger generations.
Erdogan will need the support of millions of teenagers voting for the first time when he tries to extend his rule to a third decade in a general election scheduled for June 2023 at the latest.
The powerful president devoted the entire closing section of his comprehensive UN speech, televised live on most Turkish news channels, to climate issues.
“While the Earth embraces millions of living species in its soil, it only hopes that we respect the balance of nature in exchange for this generosity,” he said.
But he added that the world’s biggest polluter “should also make the biggest contribution to fighting climate change.”
“Unlike in the past, this time no one has the right to say: I am powerful, I do not pay the bill,” Erdogan said. “Because climate change treats humanity fairly fairly.”