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An Update on Border Crossings From Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey in 2024

Border Crossings from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey have seen a growth in recent years as the collaboration between the Peshmerger in Iraq and Turkish officials have increased in terms of exports and imports through the two regions. It is possible to travel from Turkey to Iraqi Kurdistan and vice-versa through multiple border points.

Border Crossings From Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey

Ibrahim Khalil/ Harbour Gümrük Border Crossing

Ibrahim Khalil is the longest-standing and most trafficked border border crossing from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey. It is 125 km north of Mosul and 213 km northeast of Erbil. The small city of Zakho is only 10 km west of the border. The border is made up of bridges that cross the Hezil Suyu River, which makes a natural border between Turkey and Iraq. On the Turkish side, the border crossing is 218 km from Mardin and just over 300 km from Diyarbakir.

The 24/7 border has previously been shut due to conflict in the region but is now a very well known border crossing for commercial goods and for tourism, as Kurdistan relies greatly on important and exports that can be moved through Turkey. There are even buses that travel between Diyarbakir and Erbil which are mostly filled with Turkish or Iraqi nationals but they do get the odd tourist. If you are traveling with a foreign passport to Iraqi Kurdistan or to Turkey, there may be some interest by border officers about your plans, however they are aware of tourists using this crossing and with the correct entry requirements, there should be no issues.

Zeyt/ Zit International Border Crossing

Zeyt International is one of the newer border crossings from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey. This border was officiated in May 2023. Government officials from Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan both attended an opening ceremony in which they welcomed tourists to utilize the crossing.

The Zeyt border crossing is the only Erbil regional border crossing into Turkey. It serves as a tourist crossing point in its first few years, before plans of eventually using the border crossing as an alternative trade route to Ibrahim Khalil. 

It is a 171 km drive north of Erbil. On the Turkish side, the border is closest to the small town of Dericik, 13 km away. The Zeyt International border crossing crosses through a mountainous region in Turkey, in the SouthEastern Anatolia region. It is far from major cities in this region with Van being over 300 km away, with Mardin and Diyarbakir (considered to be the Kurdish capital ‘Amed’) over 600 km away.

Border Crossings from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey - Diyarbakir

Important Information

When embarking on border crossings from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey, you are likely to be stopped by military officials. On the Turkish side of the border, there are many military checkpoints between cities such as Mardin and Diyarbakir which will check your documents and travel permits or visas as the government continues to crack down against people who are unlawfully residing in the country. The Officers may also ask to check your luggage or vehicle to which you must comply.

It is really important to ensure you are carrying the correct paperwork to enter Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey to ensure these military checkpoints are smooth and quick.

The border crossings from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey listed above are mostly used for commercial use and often, vehicles and trucks can be inspected for long periods of time, sometimes even hours. When opting to travel by land through both these countries, you will need to be patient.

Border Crossings From Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey
Military checkpoint in Demirolcek, Turkey

Is It Safe to Travel Between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey?

While the Turkish government has yet to normalise relations with its own Kurdish population, travel between Iraq and Turkey is fairly safe and the relationship between Turkey and Kurdistan is also stable. As previously mentioned, the land borders provide crucial commercial paths for both countries to trade. The Ibrahim border has been open for years with most tourists reporting that the crossing was quite smooth.

Would you like to visit Kurdish regions? Join us in Iraqi Kurdistan and keep an eye out for tours to Turkish Kurdistan!

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