ANKARA: Turkey's banking authorities Monday seized control of Libyan-Turkish bank A&T in line with UN sanctions against the regime of embattled Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, an official statement said.
The move came as part of a toughening Turkish stance on Libya, a day after Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, recognised the rebel council there as "the legitimate representative of the Libyan people" and offered $200 million in aid.
The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund said it would control the Libyan Foreign Bank's 62.37-percent stake in the Arab Turkish Bank (A&T), except for dividend rights, as long as UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973, and a related Turkish government decree stay in effect.
The A&T Bank's director-general and five executive board members who represented the Libyan Foreign Bank were removed from office and replaced by officials appointed by the Fund, the statement said.
"The financial structure of the Arab Turkish Bank is sound and it will continue to exercise all banking activities and fulfil its obligations," it said.
On Saturday, Turkey's official gazette published a government decree translating UN sanctions against Libya, Kadhafi, his family and regime officials into national law.
The journal also said that Turkey's ambassador to Libya, who returned home amid violence in May, had been reassigned in Ankara.
Turkey's Isbank and Ziraat Bank hold shares of 20.58 and 15.43 percent respectively in the Arab Turkish Bank, while the remaining 1.62-percent stake is owned by Kuwait Investment Co.
Turkey, NATO's only mainly Muslim member and an influential regional player, has gradually taken a hard line against the Libyan regime, after at first criticising the Western air strikes targeting Kadhafi's forces.
It has refused to take part in the air action, but has provided six war ships to help impose a NATO-imposed arms embargo in Libyan waters.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Kadhafi to cede power and leave Libya.
Last month, he said Turkey had offered the Libyan leader an exit "guarantee" but Kadhafi had failed to reply.