The European Union is eyeing long-promised punitive measures against Turkey for its illegal military incursion into northern Syria, as well as its unauthorized natural gas drilling off Cyprus’ coast.
Germany’s Deutsche Welle reported on Saturday the EU has moved to cut pre-accession aid to Turkey by 75 percent, citing a letter sent to the European Parliament by the EU foreign affairs commissioner. The Instrument for ‘Pre-Accession Assistance’ (IPA) is offered in support of reforms in countries in the process of joining the EU, despite previously planned ‘fast-tracked’ talks for Turkey to join the European bloc stalling significantly after 2016. However, the EU quickly distanced itself the report, which appears to have originated with a leaked draft EU letter.
It appears the letter was leaked to or seen by the media prematurely, and now EU officials are scrambling to deny it.
Europe has also of late been concerned over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s growing authoritarianism and control over various branches and institutions of Turkey’s government, especially since putting down the 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt which resulted in him and his supporters emerging stronger than ever.
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