[COP28] Turkey went to the summit with ecocide, fossil fuel companies and returned with three signatures

Fotoğraf: DHA

The 28th United Nations (UN) Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, ended yesterday. The summit, which lasted for nearly two weeks, yielded 10 separate declarations. Only three of the declarations focusing on the transformation of the food, agriculture, health and energy sectors in the context of the climate crisis have Turkey’s signature. So how and with whom did Turkey participate in this summit? Cengiz Holding, IC Holding and other fossil fuel supporting companies…

Representatives and delegations from hundreds of countries attended the UN Climate Summit. The Turkish delegation was quite sizable. With a delegation of 592 people (this is not the final number of participants, a total number was shared after the summit), which was reported to have physically attended the summit on November 30, let’s take a detailed look at the delegation Turkey brought.

Deputy director of the company that chopped down the trees in Akbelen one by one at COP28

Turkey took names from companies that cause ecological destruction in the country to the summit, where people came together to make commitments against the climate crisis.

Among them was a participant from Cengiz Holding‘s Eti Bakır A.Ş. Mazıdağı Plant, as well as a participant from IC Holding

Here are the other participants taken by Turkey:

  • Burak Işık from IC Holding, one of the subsidiaries of YK Energy, which chopped down the trees in Akbelen forest and erected barricades between the trees and the villagers, is one of the participants at COP28. Burak Işık is also YK Energy’s Assistant General Manager for Sustainability and Corporate Communications:
‣’Nature murderer’ YK Energy makes deal with Nature Conservation Society for rehabilitation of mining areas

A scene from Akbelen on August 1, 2023. Gendarmes surrounded the camping area of the protesters in the area at around 6.00 a.m. to allow the logging crews to work. – Photo: Cansu Acar

An official from Cengiz Holding – Eti Bakır A.Ş. Mazıdağı Plant also attended COP28 with the Turkish Delegation. For those who may not remember about Eti Bakır A.Ş. Mazıdağı Enterprise, let’s take a quick look back:

The familiar story of the Mazıdağı Eti Copper Phosphate plant: After phosphate was discovered in the region in the 70s, nationalization began in the 80s. In the early 90s, it began operating as a state-owned enterprise, but production ceased a few years later. In the meantime, the villagers living in the area were not provided with any land and their homes were not relocated. People stayed in their houses and continued to cultivate their land, some built new houses on expropriated land, etc. In 2014, Cengiz Holding, well known to readers of Yeşil Gazete, took over the enterprise. The name was changed to Eti Bakır. First, as they always do, they visited mukhtars and neighboring villages and said, "We will hire workers from you." When the construction process is over, the villagers are asked to leave the area where they live. For the security of the facility, the area around the mine is declared a military exclusion zone and a military security point is set up inside. 

>[Yeşil Gazete in the East-11] Mardin, the land of stubborn oaks, pursues the right to water and the right to the city

You may see Cengiz Holding’s other activities here.

  • SOCAR Turkey also participated in COP28 with a sizable delegation. Let’s get to know SOCAR: Azerbaijan State Oil Company. SOCAR Turkey is its subsidiary in Turkey. It is seen that Turkey is contributing to the fossil lobbyists at COP28 with SOCAR. PETKİM, under the umbrella of SOCAR Turkey, is also one of the participants in COP28. Petkim Petrokimya Holding A.Ş., as the name suggests, manufactures petrochemical products. In addition, there are many incidents in the Aliağa district of the company where it has been on the agenda. On the other hand, the company participating in the climate summit does not have a net-zero and carbon-neutral target.
  • Aydem Energy is also a COP28 participant. In 2014, the company won the tender for Yatağan Thermal Power Plant, one of the 30 largest coal-fired power plants in Turkey, and South Aegean Lignite. It also took over Çatalağzı Thermal Power Plant on this date.
‣Red-handed in Yatağan: Company ignores judicial ruling for mine
‣Balance sheet of thermal power plants in Muğla
cop28, Türkiye

Yatağan Thermal Power Plant

  • Iskenderun Enerji Urt. ve Tic. A.S./ Electricity Generators Asc. (İSKEN): İSKEN’s Sugözü coal-fired power plant, 51 percent owned by Germany-based company Steag and 49 percent owned by OYAK, is one of the 30 largest coal-fired power plants in Turkey. According to the Climate Justice Coalition’s April 2022 Coal Power Plant Closure Report, the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 were 7.7 million tons. ISKEN, the owner of this plant, which is a real polluter in the context of the climate crisis, also took its place at COP28. According to a report published by the Istanbul Policy Center in November 2023, Sugözü İsken is one of the imported coal power plants that will be operational between 2030 and 2035. The report revealed that coal-fired power plants should be decommissioned as part of the transformation of the electricity sector in order for Turkey to reach its net zero target by 2053.
İSKEN is also one of the facilities warned by the Right to Clean Air Platform: Subsequent disasters that may occur during and after earthquakes, pose a multiple crisis risk in the earthquake zone, especially in İskenderun Bay, which hosts many facilities with the risk of combustion, explosion and chemical environmental pollution such as petroleum products storage and distribution facilities, oil refinery, petro-chemical industry, nitrogen, fertilizer, soda, iron-steel and chromium industries, Kirkuk-Yumurtalık, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipelines, natural gas lines and Afşin-Elbistan, İSKEN- Sugözü, Tufanbeyli, Hunutlu Thermal Power Plants.
  • Another company participating in COP28 with the Turkish Delegation is Aksa Energy. Aksa Energy owns Bolu Göynük Thermal Power Plant. This plant is one of the 30 largest coal-fired power plants in Turkey. According to the Climate Justice Coalition’s Phase Out of Coal Power Plants Report dated April 2022, the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 were 2.3 million tons.

In addition, according to the report by 350 for Climate Association and Sustainable Economics and Finance Association (SEFiA), which analyzed the climate scorecards of the first 30 companies traded on Borsa Istanbul (BIST 30), Aksa Energy does not have any activities within the scope of the “Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism“.

  • Aksa Energy’s main shareholder Kazancı Holding is also among the participants. Kazancı and Aksa are also on the agenda with the resistance of their employees due to low wages and poor working conditions.
  • Another of the participants is Polat Energy. Polat Energy is also known for its insistence on building Wind Power Plants (WPPs) on Eybek Mountain in Mount Ida. This WPP was opposed by the people of the region due to incorrect site selection, and the project’s EIA file did not even comprehensively look at flora and fauna. The Council of State had canceled the approval given to this EIA for the same reason. The integrity of the forest in the region was also jeopardized.

  • SANKO also had a very intense participation in COP28. There has been a struggle against SANKO A.Ş. in Manisa for years. The company attempted to drill 17 geothermal power plant (GPP) wells in Salihli, two of which were not included in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report. Stating that this was unlawful, citizens continued their legal struggle.
  • Another sizable delegation attending COP28 were officials from TÜPRAŞ and TÜPRAŞ’s business partner Entek Elektrik Üretimi A.Ş. TÜPRAŞ ranks first according to the Istanbul Chamber of Industry‘s (ISO) Turkey’s Top 500 Industrial Enterprises 2022 survey. It manufactures coke and petroleum products. TÜPRAŞ, one of the largest companies serving fossil fuel production and consumption, also took its place on the COP28 stage.
‣Explosion at Tüpraş Aliağa refinery owned by Koç Holding
‣ Stock market giants fail on climate
  • Another mining company participating in COP28 is Esan (Esan Eczacıbaşı). Esan, which poses a threat to Mount Ida, was on the agenda in 2019: Esan Eczacıbaşı started felling trees to build a gold mine on the foothills of Mount Ida.
  • Other noteworthy organizations among the participants are as follows:
  • Fiba Holding, which also owns Polyak Eynez Mining Company,
  • Akfen Energy, a subsidiary of Akfen Holding,
‣33 ecology organizations call: We must show collective resistance against companies that commit ecocide
  • Various industrial associations (MÜSİAD), chambers and metropolitan municipalities also participated.
  • Consultancy companies related to nuclear energy, chemical plants, hazardous substances and institutions in the energy sector such as EPİAŞ and Enerjisa also took their place in the delegation.
  • Many brand officials from the automotive sector also took their place at COP28 with the Turkish Delegation: Togg, FORD, Toyota and Borusan Holding.

Turkey signed only three of the 10 declarations from COP28

Turkey, which participated in COP28 with companies supporting fossil fuels, signed only the Declaration on Climate and Health, the Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action, and the Declaration of the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnership (CHAMP) at the Climate Summit.

The alliances and declarations not signed and not included by Turkey are as follows:

  • Global Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Commitment
  • Gender-responsive just transitions and climate action
  • Climate, Relief, Recovery and Peace Declaration
  • Global Cooling Commitment
  • Hydrogen Declaration
  • Leaders’ Declaration on a Global Climate Finance Framework
  • Post-Coal Power Alliance (PPCA)
  • Climate, Nature and Society Declaration
  • Coalition of Perseverance on Cohesion Finance
‣[COP28] ‘Beginning of the end for fossil fuels, Turkey must seize the transformation’


More in COP28

You may also like


Comments are closed.