US delays deportation of PKK-affiliated Michigan resident

US Department of Homeland Security decides to delay deportation order of PKK-affiliated Michigan resident Ibrahim Parlak for three more months

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

United States Congress

The US Department of Homeland Security decided on Wednesday to delay again the deportation of Michigan resident and Turkish national Ibrahim Parlak, allowing him a further 90-day stay in the US.

Parlak’s attorney Robert Carpenter said that the extension has been provided to his client by the Board of Immigration Appeals following their demand that Parlak’s case be reopened under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Parlak was convicted of involvement in the deaths of two Turkish soldiers during a clash between PKK terrorists and security forces in 1988 when a group including Murat Karayilan - who is currently a top PKK commander - tried to enter Turkey from Syria.

Parlak was captured by Turkish security forces following the incident, while reportedly in possession of a kalashnikov rifle and a hand grenade. 

He served 16 months in a prison after his conviction and fled to the United States with a fake passport in 1991 according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

He was granted political asylum in the US in 1992 after claiming that he had been imprisoned and tortured in Turkey, concerning his activities related to the PKK which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, EU, and NATO.

He opened a cafe called Gulistan in Harbert, Michigan following the acceptance of his asylum claim and applied for a green card.

However, his asylum status was repealed in the early 2000s according to the New York Times after the US decided to designate the PKK as a terrorist group in 1997.

"The Department of Homeland Security accused Mr. Parlak of lying on his green card application by checking a box saying he had never been arrested or supported a terrorist organization," NYT reported on Thursday.

In July 2004, he was imprisoned in Calhoun County Jail following his detention by the FBI on the grounds that he was "connected to a terrorist organisation and hid having a final judgement about himself," according to Turkey's Anadolu Agency.

A federal immigration judge issued a deportation order for him in early 2005 after he stated that he had continued to support the PKK at the final hearing of his case.

He was released in 2005 by a Federal District Court and since then he has been protected from deportation by a personal Senate bill first introduced by the Michigan Democrat Senator Carl Levin.

Levin kept alive the bill, ensuring the renewal of the measure each year in the American Congress until early 2015 when he announced his resignation from the Senate.

In the Senate seemingly nobody else is willing to take up the bill which will reportedly expire on Thursday midnight.

The timing of the debate over deporting Parlak from the US coincides with the escalating conflict between Turkish security forces and PKK terrorists.

PKK terror attacks have killed more than 200 security officials in Turkey since the group’s umbrella organisation, the KCK, unilaterally ended a two and a half year-long ceasefire with the government on July 11 and threatened Turkey with attacks.

Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern regions by the PKK, which was founded in 1974 by Abdullah Ocalan and his supporters in Ankara. Armed clashes and acts of violence have continued on and off for more than 30 years - mainly in Turkey's southeast - and claimed more than 40,000 lives.

TRTWorld and agencies