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EU leaders want to 'responsibly' cut Turkey pre-accession aid: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a news conference during a European Union leaders summit meeting in Brussels, Belgium, October 20, 2017. REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The human rights situation in Turkey is unacceptable, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters on Thursday, adding European Union leaders had asked their executive arm to look at cutting pre-accession aid to Ankara in a “responsible way”.

Merkel urged her fellow leaders on Thursday to cut European Union funds to Turkey that are linked to Ankara’s bid to join the bloc. She was supported by Belgium and the Netherlands.

But speaking to journalists after the a dinner at which leaders discussed relations with Turkey, Merkel said she wanted a common EU position on the accession talks and said dialogue with Turkey had to continue.

She also said she did not foresee talks with Ankara on expanding a customs union with the EU.

Reporting by Noah Barkin and Jan Strupczewski