Fırat joined the Democrat Party, and was elected to parliament in 1957. He was imprisoned after the 1960 Turkish coup d'état and was sentenced to death in the Yassıada trials, later commuted to imprisonment.
Fırat re-joined politics in 1991 with the True Path Party, and represented it in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, but left the party in disagreement over its policies towards the Kurds. He remained in the assembly as an independent, losing his seat in the 1995 general elections. In 1996 he was imprisoned for two months for aiding the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) although he was a harsh critic of the party. Fırat said the PKK had been set up by the Turkish "deep state" and worked closely with the Turkish Gendarmerie's JITEM intelligence unit, and that leader Abdullah Öcalan had worked with the National Intelligence Organization before founding the PKK.
He established the Rights and Freedoms Party (Turkish: Hak ve Özgürlükler Partisi, HAK-PAR) in 2001, retiring on health grounds in 2006. He published his memoirs in 2006 (Fırat Mahzun Akar, Avesta Kitabevi).
- Today's Zaman, 30 September 2009, Prominent Kurdish politician Abdulmelik Fırat dies in Ankara Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
- Today's Zaman, 26 May 2009, ‘Young officers abused politicians during coup’
- Amnesty International, 6 February 1996, Document - Turkey: health concern / probable prisoner of conscience: Abdulmelik Firat[permanent dead link]
- Today's Zaman, 28 October 2008, Fırat: Deep state permits Öcalan to lead PKK Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
- Avesta Kitabevi, Abdulmelik Fırat