Turkey blocks EU attempt to track $1.2 billion in refugee cash

Turkish officials are refusing to provide the European Union with information concerning whether 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in aid earmarked for refugees has been properly spent.

The European Court of Auditors said Turkey’s government refused to provide names, ID numbers and addresses of people who benefitted from two EU assistance programs.

The government cited laws governing data protection as the reason for not providing the information. But it is very rare for the EU court to be declined such details.

“Neither the (European) Commission nor the European Court of Auditors was able to track the project beneficiaries from their registration to the payment,” the court said in the report.

The EU has said it will provide Turkey with 3 billion euros in assistance on top of at least 3 billion euros already pledged, provided the money is properly used. The agreement is part of a plan to persuade Ankara to halt the flow of refugees to Europe.

The European Commission "should insist that the Turkish authorities grant implementing partners of the cash-assistance projects full access to the data on eligible beneficiaries," the court said in recommendations outlined in the report.

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