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Özyeğin University hosts discussion on The European Green Deal and Turkey TEPAV’s Program Director Güven Sak joins panel discussion, Tackling the Climate Crisis: The European Green Deal and Turkey
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29/05/2021 - Viewed 216 times


On Wednesday, May 26th, 2021, Istanbul-based Özyeğin University’s Department of International Relations and the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey, co-organized and hosted a virtual discussion on Tackling the Climate Crisis: The European Green Deal and Turkey. Moderated by Özyeğin University Associate Professor Ebru Ertugal, the panel speakers for the event were the TEPAV’s Program Director, Güven Sak, and Head of Economic and Social Development of the European Union (EU) Delegation, Angel Gutierrez Hidalgo. In her opening remarks, Ertugal underlined that the Green Deal was indeed an ambitious project and reiterated the words of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, that this project is “Europe’s man on the moon moment.”

TEPAV’s Program Director, Güven Sak then began by stating that countries such as Turkey, China, and India, at the onset of actions tackling climate change and carbon emissions would rightly argue that they have to emit to become wealthier, create jobs, and then later commit to reducing emissions. Nevertheless, there has been a decoupling of the positive relationship between economic growth and carbon emissions, and as such the conversation has shifted. When looking at the EU Green Deal or the Green Deal in the US, it is apparent that the climate crisis is now on both sides of the Atlantic.

As Güven Sak argued, a major component of green initiatives is a question of competitive. Roughly 60 percent of Turkey’s exports go to G7 countries and enacting a carbon equalization tax is bound to have significant ramifications. There will be a loss of competitiveness if Turkey does not lower carbon emissions. Funding is essential and given the financial situation in the country, this makes the process of transitioning of the discussed magnitude all the harder. The Paris Agreement needs to be ratified for Turkey to engage in business in this direction. Turkey also needs to prepare a solid new Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). Essentially what is taking shape in the West is a new kind of trading zone or regional trading zone. It is not possible for Turkey to refrain from participating. The Green Deal in the EU and the US should be considered an opportunity for Turkey because the country has been needing a structural reform program for a long period of time.

The floor was then given to EU Delegation to Turkey’s Angel Gutierrez, who continued by underlining that the Green Deal is an ambitious project that not only will make Europe carbon neutral by 2050 but also transform its society and economy. These targets are to be met by using numerous policies, strategies, and legislation in the EU toolbox. As such, this will lead to a radical transformation in the economy bringing new opportunities in terms of innovation, value-added, and jobs. Turkey, an accession member country and a close partner, needs to align with EU policies. Therefore, it is important for Turkey to enact policies in this direction and ratify the Paris Agreement. The Green Deal will not only affect the EU but its neighbors and of course the entire world. Continuing to lead in the national and international policy in the fight against climate change, this is the EU’s response to the climate crisis.

Following the remarks of Güven Sak and Angel Guitierrez Hidalgo, a Q/A session was held. This discussion is a part of Özyeğin’s ongoing online series: Talks on a World Crisis.



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