Merkel: EU will reduce Turkey funding over post-coup crackdown

Merkel: EU will reduce Turkey funding over post-coup crackdown
2 min read
20 October, 2017
European Union leaders decide to reduce financial aid for Turkey's potential EU membership bid due to crackdowns on dissent and alleged human rights abuses.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said dialogue with Turkey should continue [AFP]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said early on Friday that European Union leaders have agreed to reduce financial assistance for Turkey's potential EU membership due to Ankara's alleged violations of the rule of law and human rights.

Merkel, however, stressed that she wants to continue dialogue with Turkey and said there is no consensus among 28-member bloc's leaders to completely end membership talks, which have been underway since 2005.

Speaking at a summit in Brussels, Merkel criticised the "absolutely unsatisfying human rights situation" in Turkey, but said she wanted to "avoid a showdown" and does not wish "to break bridges" with the NATO country.

Merkel arrived at the summit Thursday saying she considers Turkey's developments on democracy "very negative, not only because many Germans are under arrest."

Hours later she said that she and other EU leaders held very important talks on Turkey and that the bloc's executive arm would work on proposals for reducing financial aid that has been channeled to helping the country prepare for membership.

Merkel did praise Turkey for helping stop the huge flow of migrants into Europe as part of a deal with the EU.

Turkey's bid to join the EU has stalled following a crackdown on dissent that followed a failed coup attempt in 2016. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has arrested several German citizens, including journalists and a human rights worker.