EU weighs cutting pre-membership funds to troubling Turkey

October 20, 2017

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and European Council President Donald Tusk participate in a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. EU leaders told British Prime Minister Theresa May Thursday to match her goodwill pledges to boost Brexit negotiations with concrete proposals if she really wants to start discussing a future trade deal with the EU by December. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is studying whether and how to cut pre-membership funds to Turkey over alleged human rights abuses and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hostile rhetoric about Europe.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said Friday that the European Commission, which supervises EU laws, has been asked “to reflect on whether to cut and re-orient the pre-accession funds.”

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says “two or three options” are under evaluation.

Tusk told reporters after chairing a summit of EU leaders that the 28-nation bloc wants “to keep the door open to Ankara, but the current reality in Turkey is making this difficult.”

He underlined that “Turkey needs to respect all member states in its relations with the EU.”

The EU has earmarked 4.5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) for Turkey in 2014-2020.

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