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EU lawmakers cancel Turkey funds over democracy shortfalls

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union lawmakers say they are canceling 70 million euros ($82.4 million) in funding meant to help Turkey join the EU due to what they see as Ankara’s failure to improve rule of law and human rights.

The European Parliament’s Budget Committee said Tuesday that the money would now go to migration programs.

The funds were put into a reserve last year and to be handed over if “Turkey makes measurable, sufficient improvements in the fields of rule of law, democracy, human rights and press freedom.”

But the committee canceled them after the latest annual EU report on Turkey concluded that Ankara is distancing itself from the EU.

The move must be endorsed by the full parliament next week but that seems a formality.

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