A Kurdish Chef in Michigan Watches Turkish Military Campaign From Afar With Dismay

President Trump is demanding an immediate truce between Turkey and forces in Syria led by Kurdish fighters. Turkey’s offensive against the Kurds, begun shortly after Trump withdrew U.S. troops from Syria, is hitting one Kurd living in Michigan especially hard.

The U.S. has tried to deport Kurdish chef Ibrahim Parlak from Michigan for over a decade, arguing he lied on a form and was once a member of a terrorist group fighting Turkey.

The group was identified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. long after Parlak moved to the Michigan resort town of Harbert.

Several members of Congress counter that Parlak has lived a peaceful and productive life in the state operating his own Kurdish-themed restaurant and deserves to stay in Michigan.

Many residents of Harbert have come to Parlak’s aid during his long battle to avoid deportation, which included temporarily being imprisoned. They started a legal defense fund for him and even sold “Free Ibrahim” shirts and coffee to raise money for attorneys.

A court eventually ruled Parlak could remain in Michigan because he faces torture or death if he’s deported to Turkey.

The federal government is appealing that decision.

But Parlak tells WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter his personal case pales in comparison to the warfare Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is now targeting at Kurds.

Click the audio link above to hear the full conversation with Kurdish Michigan resident Ibrahim Parlak.


  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.