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Despite the misgivings of his son Nejat, Ali, a widower, decides to move in with Yeter, a prostitute who shares his Turkish origin. Nejat, a young German teacher, soon warms to Yeter when he realises that she sends most of what she earns to her daughter in Turkey to pay for her university education.

Yeter’s accidental death drives a wedge between father and son. Nejat goes to Istanbul to search for Ayten, Yeter’s daughter. He is unaware that Ayten, a 20-year-old political activist, has fled to Germany to escape the Turkish police.

In Hamburg Ayten becomes friendly with Lotte, a German student, who is quickly won over by the young Turkish woman’s charm and political commitment. Lotte even invites Ayten to stay in her home, despite the qualms of her mother Susanne. Ayten is arrested and put in detention, and ultimately deported to Turkey, where she is sent to prison.

Lotte decides on the spur of the moment to drop everything and go to Turkey, where she runs into a brick wall of bureaucracy, with all her efforts to secure Ayten’s release seemingly doomed to failure. She happens to meet Nejat and they become flat-mates. A tragic event prompts Susanne to travel to Istanbul to continue her daughter’s quest. As he grows closer to Susanne, Nejat feels the need to be reconciled with his father, who now lives in Turkey, by the Black Sea. He decides to go and look for him.