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Germany downplays Turkey threat to reject Paris climate accord


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the 22nd World Petroleum Congress (WPC) on July 10, 2017 in Istanbul. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 10 warned global energy companies not to strike any deal with Cyprus for gas and oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, after talks missed a “big opportunity” to unite the divided island./ AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Germany Monday played down a threat by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G20 summit not to ratify the Paris climate accord, saying Ankara’s concerns related to its financing.

Asked about Erdogan’s comments at the gathering in Hamburg on Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert noted that the summit of the world’s biggest industrialised and developing economies had agreed that 19 of its members — including Turkey — would stick with the 2015 plan to fight global warming.

It also “took note” of US President Donald Trump’s pullout from the initiative but called the agreement “irreversible”.

“Thus the announcement that President Erdogan made at a subsequent press conference cannot be compared to the quitting of the accord by the US,” Seibert said.

Erdogan said he had clearly told Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron: “No offence, but we will not pass it in our parliament as long as the promises made to us are not delivered”.

He said former French president Francois Hollande had promised him that Turkey would be classed as a developing and not an industrialised economy — meaning Ankara would receive money from a global climate fund rather than have to pay into it.

He also suggested some other, unidentified, countries had a “problem” with the agreement and said “they are not renewing their full support”.

Seibert said that Turkey’s desire to be classified as a developing country was “known” and was “already discussed during the Paris negotiations”.

“I can say for the German government — and it also applies to the other governments for which the implementation of the Paris accord is very important — that of course we will to continue to work with Turkey so that it can ratify Paris,” he said.

An environment ministry spokesman said that Germany was “mediating” in the dispute with Turkey.

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