EU may cancel $4.2 billion of loans to Turkey: report

The European Union is likely to cut 3.5 billion euros ($4.2 billion) of lending by the European Investment Bank for Turkey because of the country’s deteriorating human rights record, Reuters reported.

The money, earmarked for Turkey until 2020, would now probably be made available to Ukraine and other ex-Soviet countries, Reuters said citing unidentified diplomats.

“As long as Turkey is not respecting freedom of speech, human rights, and is drifting further away from European democratic standards, we cannot finance such a regime with EU funds,” said Siegfried Muresan, the European Parliament’s chief budget negotiator.

EU governments and parliamentarians are expected to make a decision next week.

Governments agreed with parliament this week to cancel 105 million euros that was due to help finance political reforms, as well as holding back an extra 70 million euros, Reuters said, citing two diplomats it did not name.

Ankara could still access the 70 million euros if it improves its rights record, Muresan said.