Kurdish immigrant Ibrahim Parlak loses
round to stay in US
Appeals court upholds deportation of Kurdish
immigrant; attorneys say man was tortured
August 25, 2009
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Kurdish
immigrant from Turkey who the U.S. government claims
failed to disclose ties to a group labeled a
terrorist organization lost another round Monday in
his fight to remain in the United States.
In a split decision, a three-judge panel of the 6th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled to
uphold the federal government's deportation effort
against Ibrahim Parlak.
Parlak, 47, immigrated to the United States in 1991
after being convicted in Turkey nearly three years
earlier on charges related to his support of the
Kurdish separatist movement. He settled in Harbert,
a quiet Lake Michigan resort town about 15 miles
south-southwest of St. Joseph. There, he opened the
Kurdish restaurant Cafe Gulistan in 1994.
His attorneys have argued that Parlak was tortured
in a Turkish prison, where he was held for 17
months, and that is how officials obtained a
confession regarding Parlak's presence at a fire
fight in which two Turkish soldiers were killed.
In this June 3, 2005 file photo, Ibrahim Parlak, a
Kurdish immigrant from Turkey, center, toasts his
family, friends and supporters as they celebrate
Parlak's release from jail, at his restaurant in
Harbert, Mich. Parlack, who the U.S. government
claims failed to disclose ties to a group labeled a
terrorist organization lost another round Monday
Aug. 24, 2009 in his fight to remain in the United
States. In a split decision, a three-judge panel of
the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati
ruled to uphold the federal government's deportation
effort against Parlak.
A Kurdish rights group
that Parlak supported in the 1980s — PKK, the
Kurdistan Workers Party — was designated a terrorist
organization in 1999 by the United States. Parlak
was detained by the FBI and the Department of
Homeland Security in 2004 for alleged immigration
Prosecutors said Parlak failed to disclose his link
to the group in his original application for
political asylum in the U.S. and didn't mention the
Turkish conviction when he applied for a green card
in 1993 and to become a citizen in 1999.
But he also has attracted a number of supporters,
including two Michigan congressmen who pushed bills
to give him permanent U.S. residency. U.S. Sen. Carl
Levin, D-Mich., and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.,
have backed Parlak, saying he is not a security risk
and should be allowed to stay in the United States.
In December 2004, an immigration judge in Detroit
ordered Parlak deported. Almost a year later, he
lost an appeal of his deportation order with the
U.S. Department of Justice's Board of Immigration
His lawyers appealed that decision to 6th Circuit
Judges Boyce Martin, Jeffrey Sutton and Julia Smith
Gibbons in October 2007. The defense said the board
erred when it determined that Parlak could be
deported for lying on his applications,www.ekurd.net
could not claim refugee
status because he helped to persecute others and
could not prove that he likely would be tortured if
deported to Turkey.
Gibbons wrote in her decision, and Sutton concurred,
that the BIA ruled correctly on those points.
In his dissenting opinion, Martin wrote, among other
things, that "the immigration judge improperly
relied on evidence likely induced through torture by
Turkish Security Courts."
Martin also said the government was using its power
"to railroad a man out of our country."
Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs
Enforcement office in Detroit issued a written
statement after the ruling, saying Parlak "fully
exercised his right to due process through the
immigration courts and now through the 6th Circuit
Court, which denied his latest appeal."
Telephone messages seeking comment were left at the
Chicago office of defense attorney David Foster and
Parlak family spokesman Martin Dzuris.
Thousands of Turkish soldiers and Kurdish PKK
guerrillas have been killed since 1984 when the
Turkey's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) took up arms
for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of
Turkey (Turkey-Kurdistan). A large Turkey's Kurdish
community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK
rebels. Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish
population as a distinct minority.
The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds'
identity in its constitution and of their language
as a native language along with Turkish in the
country's Kurdish areas,www.ekurd.net
the party also demanded an end to ethnic
discrimination in Turkish laws and constitution
against Kurds, ranting them full political freedoms.
The PKK is considered a 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians
say the measures fall short of their expectations.
Copyright, respective author or news agency,
AP | Agencies
Kurds are not recognized as an official minority in
Turkey and are denied rights granted to other
minority groups. Under EU pressure, Turkey recently
granted Kurds limited rights for broadcasts and
education in the Kurdish language, but critics say
the measures do not go far enough.
The use of the term "Kurdistan" is vigorously
rejected due to its alleged political implications
by the Republic of Turkey, which does not recognize
the existence of a "Turkish Kurdistan" Southeast
Others estimate over 40 million Kurds live in Big
Kurdistan (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Armenia),
which covers an area as big as France, about half of
all Kurds which estimate to 25 million live in
Turkey. A large
Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with
the Kurdish PKK for a Kurdish homeland in the
country's mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.
Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed
severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish language,
prohibiting the language in education and broadcast
media. The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized
in Turkey, and use of the Kurdish letters X, W, Q
which do not exist in the Turkish alphabet has led
to judicial persecution in 2000 and 2003
The Kurdish flag flown officially in Iraqi Kurdistan
but unofficially flown by Kurds in Armenia. The flag
is banned in Iran, Syria, and Turkey where flying it
is a criminal offence"
North Kurdistan (
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