Sorry if this is an old question. I have a rather sensitive digestive tract and know that I do not want to drink tap water in Istanbul. However, aren’t salads, fruits and raw vegetables all washed (and or cooked) in tap water? Should I avoid salads, etc? I really hope not, but that does seem to be the obvious conclusion.
Because everyone is different, I think this is a better question for your doctor. I think he/she will give you the best advice on how to cope with this and to minimize any discomfort. I could tell you that veggies is all I ate there (a little fish too) and that no one in my tour group (nor I) got sick during the whole two weeks, but that really won't help you. In either case, I hope you are able to partake of the mezze because it's really delicious and very fresh tasting.
My personal rule is that I'm a big baby about stomach aches and therefore I go to great lengths to avoid them. In Turkey, I did not eat the salads and raw veggie and fruit dishes. Most of the people on my tour did eat them and I didn't notice anyone take ill. I had plenty to choose from at each meal and felt fine with my decision.
When I travel to areas with water issues, I always eat cooked, hot foods. I avoid any raw veggies and fruits you can not peel yourself. Our tour guide in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey told us the water would not make us sick but the build-up in the ancient pipes would. Some on our tour ate salads and raw veggies and got sick. Cooked veggies should be fine. Some on this forum drink tap water and never get sick. I stick to bottled water and hot foods. I don't worry about this in Western Europe though. There I eat salads and raw fruit and veggies. Food and waterborne illness can happen anywhere to even the most careful tourist!
Some bigger and well know hotels may have systems in place that eliminates the risk but I don't know this for sure!
While we only drank bottled water, my wife and I did eat all kinds of raw vegetables while in Istanbul and neither one of us got ill.
I was very careful about what I ate and drank on the Village Turkey tour, used bottled water to brush my teeth and kept my lips sealed when I showered, but I spent much of the trip on Immodium. My husband didn't get sick, but there were others on our tour who did. Who knows why? I'd recommend carrying meds with you just in case.
We spent several days this fall in Istanbul. We did the bottled water routine, including for brushing our teeth. We worked under the assumption that anyone preparing food knew what they were doing, and we had no problems.
Lale, our head Turkish tour guide, agrees that you should not drink tap water in Istanbul but says that restaurants in the city will use filtered water for washing salads. However, I suppose you'll never really feel sure of that. Cooking in water should not matter, since boiling water for a few minutes is a standard way to kill microbes. Cooked food held at improper temperatures or cross-contaminated is another issue. I have not had any trouble with food in Turkey, including salads. (I probably don't have a very sensitive stomach but it has not been immune to food poisoning in other situations.)
I'll just reiterate what most of the others have said. I have been to Turkey twice (Istanbul and Villages Turkey tour) and had no digestive issues either time. I did drink bottled water (yes, used it even for teeth brushing) but wasn't shy about eating any salads. Caveat: I rarely have stomach issues unless I eat a whole bunch of chocolate. Which by the way, happens to be wonderful in Turkey. I brought home a lot of Ülker dark chocolate bars. Yum!
We were in Istanbul last week and no one had any issues. We didn't drink tap water, but my husband and I brushed our teeth with tap water (the kids used bottled water) and we all ate fresh produce.