EU might suspend one-third of pre-accession funds to Turkey

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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 02: European Union flags are seen in front of the Berlaymont Building (European Commission's center) in Brussels, Belgium on March 02, 2017. AFP

One-third of pre-accession funding to Turkey could be suspended, an EU official told Turkish Minute on Tuesday, after European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in an interview over the weekend that some funds had already been suspended.

Hahn indicated that a suspension of some projects had already occurred due to anti-democratic steps on the part of the government in the wake of a botched coup attempt on July 15 of last year.

The EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the suspension might involve pre-accession funding in the areas of rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy.

In an interview with German news agency DPA over the weekend, Hahn had indicated that planned financial assistance between 2014-2020 was set at 4.45 billion euros although only 167.3 million 300 euros had been given to Turkey thus far, three years into the plan.

Turkey unfortunately is not getting closer to Europe but rather is moving away from it,” Hahn stated.

The EU official told Turkish Minute on Tuesday that two specific projects earmarked for the judiciary had already been halted after the drastic post-coup measures. The official warned that the EU reserves the right to reduce Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) funds if anti-democratic measures continue to be adopted by Turkey.

We are currently further reorienting funds to areas with the most need. At the same time, two specific projects in the judicial field have been halted in light of the particular impact of post-coup measures on specific institutions. In the framework of the IPA II performance reward, we reserve the possibility of reducing IPA funds on the basis of the assessment of Turkey’s progress on the accession-related benchmarks of key political criteria and agreed strategic indicators,” the EU official said.

IPA is the instrument for pre-accession assistance allocated to candidate countries to harmonize their national legal system to the EU Acquis.

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