Mehmet Umut, a Turkish immigrant, lives in Cologne with his wife and his little son. After his residence permit expires, on an early morning he is roused from his sleep and taken into custody by the police. He is deported to Turkey on the same day. His family stays behind, terrified and helpless.
When he arrives in Istanbul, Mehmet survives with various odd jobs. He takes whatever job he can get, such as a porter and sometimes as a waiter. In the night, he sleeps on public benches or in huts. The journey to his hometown Gaziantep in South-East Anatolia is impossible for Mehmet. He can barely survive with the money he has.
After several hopeless attempts to speak with the German Consulate, Mehmet finally fills out an application for a residence visa. After many days of waiting, his application is turned down without any reason and in his desperation he contacts an organisation that specializes in illegal border crossing. The trip will cost 7000 Marks therefore his wife has to sell her bridal jewelry. To get the rest of the money in an honest way is a vain hope, so Mehmet steels it.
While Mehmet is preparing his travel, his wife tries everything in Cologne to cancel the deportation.
A dangerous journey full of hope and fear begins. The group – consisting of several men, also Mehmet and his friend Müslüm, and an old lady with her grandson – travel to Hungary through Bulgaria and Romania in a minibus. With their fate lying in their guide´s hands, they have no choice but to pay him bribes for the border guards at every new frontier.
In Budapest, the group is lodged in a third-rate hotel where they are told that the man, who would be leading them for the rest of the journey, will pick them up. The situation degrades rapidly, when, after a few days, they realize they have been misled.
With the courage caused by desperation, Mehmet, his friend Müslüm and the old lady with her grandson pack up their poor belongings and continue their trip to Austria on their own. The greatest obstacle, however, is yet to come.