YORK street entertainer Michael Mime was today trying to cross the Turkish border into Iraq after meeting and taking advice from Kurdish politicians.

Michael, real name Michael Todd, has met leading members of the Kurdish Democratic Party who, he claims, told him the Turkish border is passable, despite being heavily fortified.

The northern part of Iraq is a stronghold of the Kurds, and was designated a safe haven after the first Gulf War.

Michael says he has been told the cost of passage through the Kurdish-controlled part of the border is about 4,000 US dollars.

Michael said: "I will get as close to the border as I can by bus then make the rest of the journey to the border on foot or by taxi. After that, I'll take it from there.

"The crossing will be semi-official and I don't know where any money I'll pay is going, to be honest. I do know the guys on the border are making a killing. I have been told at least one western journalist has taken that route already."

Michael admits there could be problems getting past the Turkish side of the border.

But he said he is confident of making it into Iraq if he reaches the Kurdish side of the border.

He said: "It is true I am flying by the seat of my pants at the minute, but I feel good about it. I have to stay positive, I have come this far and intend to see it through."

Michael is trying to reach Iraq to trace his estranged daughter, born after Michael had a relationship with an Iraqi woman.

He also says he is on a mission to take "unconditional love" to the country.

He plans to wear his clown costume and full make-up when he gets into Iraq.

"That should underline the insanity of this war quite well," he said.

Trudie Pak, the Ankara-based British Vice-Consul, said: "The advice is do not travel to Iraq. We have advised Mr Todd of that, but the final decision is his."

Updated: 10:39 Tuesday, April 01, 2003