Cablegate: Turkey Will Sign the Kyoto Protocol


DE RUEHAK #1032/01 1551644
R 031644Z JUN 08



E.O. 12958:N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: Nudged by the EU, and seeking greater influence
in post-Kyoto negotiations, the GOT announced on June 2 that it
would begin a process to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The GOT hopes
the parliament will approve the ratification before its July recess,
clearing the way for Turkey to participate in the UN Climate Change
Convention in December 2008 as a member of the Protocol. Turkey has
been dissatisfied sitting at the margins of previous conferences and
wants to carve out a more robust role in setting the implementation
mechanisms for Kyoto. Turkey seeks to define a "special status" as
an Annex I country and will likely seek relief from Annex I emission
reduction targets. Accession to Kyoto furthers Turkey's EU
candidacy through closer harmonization with the EU's environmental
policies. End summary.

2. (U) Following the June 2 Cabinet meeting, GOT spokesman Cemil
Cicek announced that Turkey will join the Kyoto Protocol and will
send a bill for ratification to parliament shortly. Cicek's
announcement follows a similar announcement made on May 30 by
Environment Minister Veysel Eroglu.

Why join Kyoto?

3. (SBU) There are several political and economic reasons why
Turkey has decided to ratify the Protocol. Perhaps the most
important is Turkey's determination to influence the negotiations
for a post-Kyoto framework. At the last UN Climate Change
Conference in Bali in December 2007, the GOT felt isolated and
marginalized, mainly because it is not a member of any negotiating
block. Cicek argued that joining Kyoto now would give Turkey the
influence and stature it needs to favorably shape post-Kyoto
implementation measures.

Kyoto as Part of EU Accession

4. (SBU) Another important factor in Turkey's decision to join
Kyoto is its bid to join the EU. In recent trips to Ankara, French
Negotiator for Climate Change Brice Lalonde and British Foreign
Secretary David Miliband have raised climate change with high-level
GOT counterparts. Under the auspices of the EU Presidency, the
French have offered to host a symposium in Turkey to examine
Turkey's claim for "special status" and how it can play a more
influential role in the post-2012 negotiations. Similarly, the
Brits have offered a "strategic dialogue" with Turkey on climate
change with a kick-off event planned for fall.

5. (SBU) In public remarks, TGNA Environment Committee Chair Haluk
Ozdalga cited the link between Turkey's EU candidacy and its desire
to join Kyoto. He noted that no European country besides Turkey has
declined to ratify Kyoto. He also mentioned the importance of
Turkey joining one of the negotiating blocks to gain influence in
the process. Gole told us Turkey had not made a decision but is
considering joining the Balkan Group. According to French
Commercial Attach Sylvain Geranton, the EU is considering whether to
form a group of EU aspirant countries which would give countries
like Turkey, Croatia, Macedonia, etc. a way to link into EU
processes. Ozdalga also mentioned the opportunity costs for Turkey
of not joining Kyoto. He said Turkey was missing out while China
was benefiting from sizable funding available through Clean
Development Mechanisms for investments in reduced carbon emissions.

Kyoto Shows GOT Action on Climate Change
6. (SBU) Local press commented that the GOT decided to approve the
Kyoto Protocol as result of the personal efforts of Environment
Minister Veysel Eroglu, who reportedly lobbied Cabinet counterparts.
Ministry of Environment Acting Department Head for International
Relations Deniz Gole told us public opinion sees the drought
conditions in southeastern Turkey as tied to global warming, and the
GOT's decision on Kyoto is a way for the government to show it is
taking action on this issue.

GOT Accession Process...

7. (SBU) The GOT's announcement to join the Protocol is just the
first in a multi-step process for Turkey's accession to Kyoto. The
MFA is now tasked with preparing a draft law which will require the
signature of all GOT ministers before submission to parliament. The
law will be debated by the foreign affairs committee and the
subcommittee on environment. It may also go to the plans and budget
committee as well as energy committee. Following a vote by the
Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), the law will be submitted to
the President for his approval.

....And Timing

8. (SBU) Once Turkey deposits its ratification instrument with the
UN, there is a 90-waiting period before the formal accession is
recognized. Turkey's decision to move now on Kyoto ratification
seems to be driven by its determination to become a voice at the
table at the next United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled
for December in Poznan, Poland. In order to make this timing work,
the TGNA will need to vote in favor of the Protocol prior to the
TNGA's summer recess, which begins in July.

Cost of Kyoto Accession?
9. (SBU) Not everyone agrees that Turkey's accession to the
Protocol is positive. The Ministry of Industry has raised concerns
about the cost to the economy of implementing the Protocol.
Analyses we have seen suggest that cement, iron, steel and other
heavy industries would likely incur substantial costs to cut carbon
emissions. Analysts estimated the impact on the Turkish economy
could reach USD 5 billion.

Special Status Exemption from Costs

10. (SBU) In response to arguments of economic harm, Cicek said
there would be no cost now for Turkey to join because emissions
reductions will not be implemented until post-2012. Gole told us
Turkey will continue to seek a "special status" under Annex I after
it has ratified the Protocol. It is not clear what specifically is
meant by a special status. Most likely, Turkey will seek exemptions
from carbon emission reduction requirements for Annex I countries.

© Scoop Media

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