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Turkey: Long-Awaited Ratification of Kyoto Protocol

(Feb. 24, 2009) On February 5, 2009, the Parliament of Turkey, in a vote of 243 to 3, approved a bill on the country's participation in the Kyoto Protocol, after the Cabinet had signed the agreement. The law entered in force on February 17, upon its publication in the official gazette (RESMI GAZETE). Pressure applied on Turkey by the European Union and international environmental groups to improve its environmental standards reportedly played a role in the country's decision to join the Protocol at this time. (Turkey's Participation in Kyoto Protocol Published in the Official Gazette, TODAY'S ZAMAN, Feb. 18, 2009, available at; Turkey Approves Kyoto Protocol, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, Feb. 5, 2009, available at
; At Long Last Turkey Signs Kyoto Protocol, HURRIYET DAILY NEWS, Feb. 18, 2009, available at

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement associated with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that “sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.” (Kyoto Protocol, UNFCCC website, (last visited Feb. 18, 2009).) The Convention merely encourages industrialized nations to stabilize such emissions, but the Protocol imposes a legally binding commitment on those nations, as well as a general commitment on all UNFCCC member states, to reduce the emissions. Four individual types of GHGs (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride) and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons) are covered by the agreement. (Id.)

As of January 14, 2009, 183 countries and the European Economic Community had deposited instruments of ratification, accession, approval, or acceptance in connection with the Protocol, which entered into force on February 16, 2005. (Status of Ratification [of the Kyoto Protocol], UNFCCC website, (last visited Feb. 18, 2009).) Turkey ratified the UNFCC on February 24, 2004, effective May 24, 2004. (Parties to the Convention and Observer States [scroll to “Turkey”], UNFCC website, (last visited Feb. 18, 2009).)