Ibrahim Parlak

Ibrahim Parlak is a restaurant owner who lives relatively close to me–up in Harbert, Michigan. He’s a Kurd, originally from Turkey, and ran into trouble there because of his involvement with the Kurdish Workers’ Party or PKK. (His involvement with the group predates the U.S. government’s classification of the group as a terrorist organization; the PKK was not so classified until 1997.) The trouble Mr. Parlak encountered in Turkey included torture at the hands of the Turkish authorities. In 1991, Mr. Parlak arrived in the United States and immediately applied for political asylum, which was granted. He made a life for himself in the United States, became a father, and established a restaurant in Harbert. According to all accounts, he’s been a model neighbor. In 1999, he took what he saw as the next logical step, and applied for U.S. citizenship. The INS worker who interviewed him made note of his involvement with the PKK–an affiliation Mr. Parlak had already detailed in his asylum application back in 1991.Now, the Department of Homeland Security is trying to have him deported. The irony is, they’re seeking to deport him for the same reasons he was originally granted asylum, so far as I can tell.Mr. Parlak’s friends and neighbors have established a web site where interested parties can keep up with the case. If you’re interested in reading the details of Mr. Parlak’s story, a substantial article that originally appeared in the New York Times can be found here.

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