EU cuts over 1 billion euros in funds for Turkey in two years

The European Union has cut a total of 1.2 billion euros ($ 1.33 billion) in funds allocated to Turkey since 2017, Euro News Turkish reported on Monday.

The cuts are a result of Turkey’s lack of progress in reforms and fundamental rights and freedoms, it said.

The absence of Turkey developed projects in compliance with EU standards to advance democratic values is another reason for the axe, Euro News cited a high-level official at the European Commission (EC) as saying.

The EC’s annual report in May said Turkey experienced a considerable backslide with regard to the rule of law and the judiciary, fundamental rights, economic institutions, anti-corruption measures, media freedom and other areas.

In 2018, the EU had cut 759 million euros ($ 845 million), 40 percent of the allocated budget, of pre-accession financial assistance to Turkey.

As discussions on the EU’s 2021-2027 budget continue, financial aid for Turkey could be further reduced if the country does not implement reforms, Euro News Turkish said.

The European Parliament had called on EU leaders to formally suspend Turkey's accession talks in March.

Turkey first applied to become an EU member in 1987 with official accession negotiations beginning in 2005.