Brussels says the move is a result of deteriorating human rights and could lead to the delay or cancellation of £3billion (€3.5billion) in development loans earmarked for the country.
The announcement comes as a major blow to Turkey’s EU membership bid, which began in 1987 but has stalled since a failed coup in 2016 which left at least 241 people dead.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian regime has been accused of wide ranging human rights violations, including the detention of political opponents and government-led efforts to silence media criticism.
He has defended his crackdown and purges by claiming they are necessary to maintain stability in a NATO country which borders Iraq and Syria.Related articles
GETTYThe EU is withdrawing €175 million in funding over President Erdogan's shocking human rights record
As long as Turkey is not respecting human rights... we cannot finance such a regime with EU funds
But a majority of EU countries, led by Germany and the Netherlands, have argued it makes no sense to continue providing money for political reform.
Announcing the withdrawal of the pre-accession funding to Turkey this week, Siegfried Muresan, the European Parliament's chief budget negotiator, said: “As long as Turkey is