Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has expressed regret over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision not to attend the highly anticipated COP26 climate summit in Glasgow where world leaders will be asked to accelerate action on climate change.
The 12-day meeting in Scotland, the biggest climate conference since landmark talks in Paris in 2015, is seen as a crucial step in setting worldwide emissions targets to slow global warming. It will run from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12
Erdoğan had been scheduled to fly to Glasgow after attending the G-20 Summit in Rome. However, he returned to Turkey on Monday and cited unmet demands regarding the number of vehicles for security and other security-related demands as the reason for his decision to skip the Glasgow summit.
Last week Erdoğan said he was planning to meet with US President Joe Biden in Glasgow, but their meeting was moved forward and the two met in Rome on Sunday.
CHP lawmaker Murat Bakan said since Erdoğan was able to meet with Biden on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Rome, he did not feel the need to fly to Glasgow, where he would have had a chance to meet with Biden if their meeting had not taken place in Rome.
“He was finally able to meet with Biden. And it was sufficient for him. The president of our country decided at the very last moment not to attend this conference seen as the ‘last chance for our world,’ and attended by around 120 world leaders. We are ashamed of this,” said Bakan.
According to the CHP lawmaker, climate change has never been a source of concern for Erdoğan because it is not something he can abuse in domestic politics to consolidate his voter base.
Turkey was one of the original signatories of the 2016 Paris climate accord but only ratified the agreement in early October after arguing for years that it should be treated as a developing, rather than developed, country. Turkey suffered from a series of environmental calamities this summer blamed on global warming, including the worst wildfires in its history and floods.
Turkey was the last G-20 country to ratify the pact.