Strasbourg, 19 September 1996 (RFE/RL) - The parliament of the European Union today froze most EU funding to Turkey.
In a resolution passed by a large majority, the European Parliament cited what it considers Turkey's human-rights violations, as well as its recent behavior in Cyprus and toward the Kurdish people, as reasons for the freeze.
The funds affected include almost $500 million pledged to Turkey over the next five years under the Customs Union agreement it signed with the EU last year.
The resolution passed today declares that "continuing human-rights violations in Turkey contradict the letter and the spirit of the EU-Turkey customs union accord."
Since 1993, the European Parliament has had the power to control the disbursement of so-called optional EU funds -- those decided on voluntarily by the union and not imposed on it by its founding treaties.
That means that today's vote will immediately trigger the cut-off of most EU funds to Turkey.