EU denies reports on further aid cuts to Turkey
The EU on Sunday denied media reports over the weekend claiming it had cut pre-accession aid to Turkey, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
The EU cut pre-accession funds to Turkey in 2017 and again in October and is not planning further cuts, a spokesman for the bloc said.
The bloc’s statement follows a report by Germany's Funke Media Group saying it saw a letter from EU diplomat Josep Borrell announcing a 75 percent cut to the funds Turkey receives as a prospective EU member via the "Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)."
"Borrell did not send a letter addressed to the European Parliament allegedly announcing further cuts of IPA funding to Turkey," it quoted a statement by Peter Stano, Brussels' lead spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, as saying.
Stano suggested the German media organization may have been confused by a letter sent to a member of the European Parliament after they had submitted a question about the aid.
"There is no new or recent decision by the EU budgetary authority on pre-accession reorientation, other than the decisions taken last year and which have been announced and clarified already on numerous occasions," Stano said.
Turkey has been recognised as a candidate for full EU membership since 1999, but began negotiations for full membership to the EU under the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) leadership in 2005. Talks between the sides have come to a halt since 2016, when the country experienced a coup attempt sparking a two-year emergency rule.
In 2016, Turkey and the EU negotiated a deal in 2016 prevent the unprecedented influx of refugees from attempting the crossing from its shores to Greece. Accordingly, the EU would provide funding to do so and accelerate Turkey's accession talks.
Talks have stalled again since as Ankara has been accused of failing to fulfil its part of the deal. The number of refugees entering the EU through Turkey doubled in 2018.