In Turkey`s 2002 elections, the Justice and Development Party, also known as the AKP, won a landslide victory. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Israel in 2005 and offered to mediate peace in the Middle East and establish trade and military relations. Erdogan brought a large group of businessmen for his two-day trip, which included talks with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Moshe Katsav. Erdogan also laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.   Erdogan told Sharon that his Justice and Development Party considered anti-Semitism a “crime against humanity.” He added that Iran`s nuclear ambitions posed not only a threat to Israel, but to “the whole world.”  The Turkey-EU customs union has eliminated tariffs, quantitative restrictions and measures of equivalent effect in trade in industrial products in order to guarantee the free movement of goods. As a result of the customs union, Turkey has opened its internal market to competition in the EU and third countries, while guaranteeing its exporters free access to the EU market. In addition, Turkey is committed to adapting to the preferential regimes that the EU applies to third countries and to harmonising its legislation with the EU acquis in a wide range of areas, including technical standards and regulations, as well as competition policy. However, agricultural trade is carried out between the contracting parties under the preferential system; trade in steel products is governed by the free trade agreement between Turkey and the European Coal and Steel Community. Turkey, as a contracting party to the WTO General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), implements free trade agreements in accordance with Article XXIV of the 1947 GATT. This article allows Turkey to give its trading partners favourable treatment within the framework of a customs union or free trade area, without extending this treatment to all WTO members, subject to certain conditions. Cyprus and Israel have signed an agreement to demarcate their maritime borders to facilitate offshore gas exploration. Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou and Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau signed the agreement in Nicosia.
The aim is to facilitate the search for mineral resources in the eastern Mediterranean, where huge reserves of natural gas have been discovered. Turkish sources said that the Foreign Ministry had summoned Israel`s ambassador to Turkey, Gabby Levy, and expressed its displeasure with the agreement.  The Israeli energy company Delek Group seeks to cooperate with Cyprus in the field of natural gas exploration and production, where Delek already operates.  Describes the bilateral and multilateral trade agreements to which that country belongs, including with the United States.