Ibrahim Parlak: Another day, another battle for freedom

Published: Feb. 23, 2016 at 6:09 PM EST
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In a deportation battle that's spanned nearly a quarter-century, Ibrahim Parlak is addressing the latest allegations against him.

The Michigan restaurant owner and resident of the U.S. since the early nineties, held a news conference Tuesday to discuss his fate.

His 90-day extension in the U.S. protecting him from deportation was granted around Christmastime, but with March quickly approaching, Parlak is now facing another battle to remain in the states.

A letter from the Turkish Consulate of Chicago calling Parlak a terrorist has spurred new controversy...the Turkish government now wanting him back.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Parlak said those allegations are false, and brought documents to prove it.

The letter doesn't just allege Parlak is a terrorist, but that he's lying, a prison escapee and in hiding.

At the conference, Parlak presented paperwork to disprove each of the allegations.

For one, after being ordered to apply for travel to turkey, Parlak says he openly did so seven times, and this was the response he got: “We don't want him, we cannot issue travel document to non-citizen,” said Ibrahim Parlak.

Now the Turkish government has changed its mind.

“He’s being, in our opinion, a pawn in a big international game that has nothing to do with him,” said Martin Dzuris, Parlak’s friend and spokesperson.

“As soon as I arrive in Turkey, I will be taken directly to jail,” said Parlak.

This all stems from his involvement in a 1988 incident where two soldiers were killed on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Parlak, only convicted of separatism was cleared of involvement in the deaths.

Parlak says being sent back to turkey would mean severe punishment and torture.

“[The letter] is written with anger, and with madness and it totally violates diplomatic procedures,” said Parlak.

That's why he and his lawyers are appealing to re-open part of the case.

If the court decides in his favor that Convention Against Torture applies, in other words, that he'd be in harm's way if sent back, Parlak won't be deported, but it's not a permanent solution.

“Totally wrong and totally not the way justice is supposed to be done, and we believe a lot of laws were actually broken in the process and it's something that we're exploring that maybe we can use in the future to re-open the whole case, not just the Convention Against Torture,” said Dzuris.

The Board of Immigration appeals in Virginia will make a decision on whether Parlak's case will be reopened. Currently, a date for that hearing has not been selected.

In the meantime, Parlak says he and his team are working with representatives on a series of appeals, referrals, and a bill that essentially would put an end to this whole case.

Parlak has filed for another deportation extension to give him more time when his current extension expires on March 22.

After today's news conference ended, Parlak said "America is my country, and my home" making it clear that he is not giving up.