Erdogan Skips COP26 Summit, Citing a Security Protocol Dispute
(Bloomberg) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was skipping the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow, citing a dispute over security arrangements.
Erdogan attended a summit of Group of 20 leaders in Rome and did not fly onto Scotland as previously planned. Speaking on his plane, he said Turkey’s security-related requests were refused “at the last moment,” according to Haber Television.
“Later, we learned that the standards in our rejected request could be provided exceptionally for another country,” Erdogan said, without identifying that nation. “That did not conform to diplomatic customs. We couldn’t accept this.”
The Turkish leader did not specify what the security requests pertained to, or say when the dispute had arisen. Two officials familiar with the discussions said Ankara had been told to limit the number of bodyguards who came with Erdogan and that he could not use his own vehicle in Glasgow.
Erdogan thanked U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying he attempted to resolve the matter. “At first he stated that his problem was solved. But at the last moment, he came back to us and said that the Scottish side was making difficulties,” the president said.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman, Max Blain, declined to comment, citing an official policy of not discussing security arrangements. He told reporters the U.K. would have been “pleased” to see the Turkish president attend the talks in person and that Johnson “will continue to seek to convince the Turkish government to do more” on tackling climate change.
Police Scotland would not comment on such security matters, a spokesperson said. A Scottish government spokesperson said the same, adding: “Police Scotland, the U.K. Government and the Scottish government have worked closely with other delivery partners to deliver a safe, secure and successful COP26.”
Turkey recently became the last G-20 country to ratify the 2015 Paris climate accords and said it would implement the agreement in a way that avoids it making aggressive cuts in emissions, opposing its classification as a developed country that’s required to adopt a higher level of greenhouse gas reductions.
Ahead of COP26, Turkey withdrew its request to be removed from a classification as a developed nation, Deputy Environment Minister Mehmet Emin Birpinar said on Monday by phone from Glasgow. The country reportedly recently signed an agreement to get around 3.1 billion euros in funding from the Green Climate Fund.
“Of course, behind this, there is also the effect of the memorandum of understanding on international funds, which Turkey has not been able to obtain for years,” Birpinar said. “Turkey is already accessing funds like a non-Annex-1 country today.”
Turkey has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2053.
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