BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will cut some of the money earmarked for Turkey to join the bloc, reflecting increasingly sour ties with Ankara but stopping short of killing membership bid of the country it still sees as a strategic partner.
The EU has been walking a tight rope for months on Turkey, angered by President Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on critics after a failed coup in July, 2016, but dependant on Ankara to keep a lid on immigration to Europe and combat militants in Syria.
The EU leaders’ chairman, Donald Tusk, said the bloc had agreed in two days of talks in Brussels to cut or reroute some of the 4.4 billion euros ($5.2 bln) Ankara was due to get as part of its accession talks in 2014-20.
“It was a substantive discussion. We want to keep the door open to Ankara, but the current reality in Turkey is making this difficult,” Tusk told a news conference.
Germany has seen its ties with Turkey particularly strained and Chancellor Angela Merkel called last month for a tougher stance on Ankara as she campaigned for re-election at home.
Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Lily Cusack, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Elizabeth Piper