BRUSSELS: German & French MEPs seek to halt financial aid to Turkey

9 July 2013 /TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL – A group of members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the European People’s Party (EPP) is preparing a proposal that seeks to cut Turkey’s financial aid from the 28-nation European Union, Turkish media reported on Monday.

The members of the EPP, a Christian Democrat bloc in the European Parliament, have been working on a draft resolution aimed at cutting financial aid to Turkey. According to reports in the Turkish media, the resolution is a response to police crackdown on anti-government protests which began as a sit-in against the demolition of Gezi Park in İstanbul and escalated into widespread and sometimes violent demonstrations.The MEPs argue that aid money granted to Ankara gets to the Turkish people in the form of pepper spray, and that the EU should therefore turn off the tap. The Turkish police, who have been liberally using pepper spray, water cannon and tear gas to disperse crowds, have come under harsh criticism for excessive use of force in protests that saw four deaths. Though EU members and other Western nations have stepped up criticism of Turkey’s handling of the rallies, Ankara’s attitude remains practically unchanged.

The draft resolution, which will mention the excessive use of police force in protests, is expected to be presented during plenary sessions to start when the European Parliament reconvenes this fall.

German MEPs Renate Sommer and Rainer Wieland as well as French parliamentarian Jean-Paul Gauzes are among those who have signed the draft resolution. Austrian parliamentarian Franz Obermayr as well as British MEPs Nick Griffin and Philip Claeys are also supporting the resolution.