Turks, Punks, and Hipsters in Berlin’s Neukölln District

Neukölln is one of Berlin’s most vibrant districts: part Turkish, part hipster, with a healthy dose of old-school punk.

Travel Article for Flung Magazine

It’s my first night in Neukölln and I’m itching for a Turkish pizza.

As a homesick Iranian New Yorker living in a time when international relations are quite strained, an evening at a Turkish restaurant (albeit in Berlin) fills me with a strangely familiar warmth.

It might seem odd to consider Turkish and Persian cultures so close, but this is nothing new to anyone from Iran. Turkish culture is the closest to our own (aside from those of Azerbaijan and Armenia, two countries whose histories have at time aligned closely with Iran’s), and many northern Iranians have some kind of Near Eastern heritage in their family trees. In my family, it was my grandfather’s father who was Turkish, back when Turkish was the second language you learned if you grew up in Iran. 

My dinner buddy, Jack–an erstwhile New Yorker who lived for a stint in Turkey–shares a similar sentiment.

Shortly put, it hits the spot… read more

Many of Berlin’s young population now live alongside the Turkish and Middle Eastern communities that populate Neukölln, and a familiar hipster sprawl is interwoven within these layers of urban life. Taken together, these different elements give the ‘worn-around-the-edges’ neighborhood a distinct mix-and-match flair.