By Isabell Liu

Yousef Duran has owned his fruit and vegetable stand at the popular Turkish market along the Maybachufer river bank for 40 years. Duran, 54, first came to Berlin as a guest worker, following a October, 1961 agreement signed by former West Germany with Turkey to address labor shortages.

The German government expected male workers who would stay long enough to learn new skills, earn money to send home, and then ultimately return to Turkey. Instead, many — like Duran — chose to stay. Permanently.

But not once did he ever apply for German citizenship. “It doesn’t matter whether I have a Turkish or a German passport. I’m a foreigner here,” Duran said. …

Behind the Scenes:

The Taste of Tolerance

By Isabell Liu

To the table of German diners whispering “Japanisch?” behind me at dinner, I’m afraid that German is too similar to English for me to not pick up on your attempts at guessing my race.

And yet, I can’t help wondering what goes through your minds when my bleach-blonde, American self saunters into an eating establishment with nothing but a feeble “danke” and points at the menu as means of ordering. I could very well flip my head around and explain my parents’ immigration from post-Tiananmen China to Renton, Washington and eventually Rancho Cucamonga, California — but I won’t. Not today. …

Isabell Liu

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