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2003-08-17 08:11:00


He wrote:

Turkey to Iraq border crossing.

I crossed the above border about three hours ago. It wasn't a big deal. Here's what happens.

The nearest Turkish town to the border that I crossed (there may be others) is called Silopi. It is 15 km's from the actual border. The border facility is called Habur. You can walk those 15 km's if you want to, however, it is really hot right now. As far as I could tell, there is no local bus. Apparently, there are no locals using that border, hence no bus. You can probably hitch-hike without too much problem. There are plenty of lorries (trucks) going that way. If you do take a lorry, you will probably spend quite a few hours at either side of the border as there were literally hundreds of lorries queueing up to cross the border. If you get a ride in a car, then you just whiz straight to the front of the queue.

Personally, I ended up taking a cab. I figured that he could assit me in all the running around. I had heard all these stories about the difficulty of the crossing. I was told that there was a heavy Turkish military checkpoint. That consisted of one guy in very casual gear who asked me why I was going into Iraq. I told him and he just said "enjoy it". I saw no heavy weaponry, no tanks, sod all actually. I was also told that the Turkish passport control was very hit and miss and faxes had to be sent from Ankara and God-knows what else. It was very very simple. As was the Kurdistan/Iraqi side. You do need to take one photocopy of your passport though. If you are press, you also need a letter from your Embassy confirming that fact. I only saw one American at the border and he had just left the toilet and was going into an office where, apparently, there are other Americans. I saw no Americans at all between the border and Dohuk (from where I am writing this).

On reflection, I could have done the whole thing for free if I had wanted, except the bits on the Kurdistan/Iraqi side.

Once at the border, it's just the normal rush of people etc etc. The border is always open, as is the bank there. Once you leave the Turkish side, it's about 500 metres to the Kurdistan/Iraqi side. That facility is called Ibrahim Allir (or something like that). Once you do your stuff there, there are taxis right there or if you walk about 100 metres, there is a bus stand. It costs 1 Dinar (about 10 cents) to go to Zohak which is about 10 km's away. From there, it's 5 Dinar by bus to Dohuk or 10 Dinar by shared taxi.

ONE THING: I have a British passport and perhaps, that made things a little easier. No visa is needed, no AIDS test PLUS I EVEN HAVE ISRAELI STAMPS IN MY PASSPORT. Guess what? no worries at all. How times change!!!

Last night, by co-incidence, I had dinner with a Turkish customs officer. He told me that some nationalities (the non-Western ones) sometimes have to get approval from Ankara. That involves going somewhere there and having them fax permission to the border folks. However, things change and what is so today may be different tomorrow.

I hope this un-biased and impartial (kudos to Sarhot) information assists.