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Turkey: EU Parliament Likely To Freeze Funds

Strasbourg, 18 September 1996 (RFE/RL) - The parliament of the European Union is likely to freeze most EU funding to Turkey on Thursday.

The body will cite 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, informed European Parliament officials in Strasbourg told our correspondent yesterday.

The funds 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 officials cite the text of a compromise resolution reached yesterday by both left and right parties in parliament. Those groups include the parliament's two largest parties, the Socialists and the Christian Democrats.

The compromise text, which is to be debated today by the parliament, says that "continuing human-rights violations in Turkey contradict the letter and the spirit of the EU-Turkey customs union accord."

The EU's 1993 Maastricht Treaty strengthened the European Parliament's control over 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 Thursday's vote on the compromise draft resolution, due about mid-day, could immediately trigger the cut-off of most EU funds to Turkey.