A tentative vegan investigation into the City of Seven Hills: Istanbul

Updated 23 December 2018

For 18 days I explored Istanbul, as a foreigner who can barely count to three (or say hello). Here is what I found:

The basics:
Istanbul as you might know has a European and an Asian side. The inhabitants of either side like to refer to the other side as irrelevant or at least inferior. The standard tourist destinations are all on the European side, and the areas that surround them are full of tourists. These European side areas are Beşiktaş (pronounce: Beh-shiktash), Beyoğlu (pronounce: Beh-yoh-lu) and the "tip-part" of Fatih (pronounce: Fah-tee - not "Fah-tich" with a Scottish "ch" - Thanks Korcan!).
The most vegan-friendly and vegan-dense area of Istanbul is with little doubt the hilly (and hipster) neighbourhood of Yeldeğirmeni (means: windmill, pronounce: Yäl-deh-ir-meni) in the district of Kadıköy, on the Asian side. The Kadıköy neighbourhood of Moda (meaning: fashion), down the hill from Yeldeğirmeni, is however also quite full of “vegan destinations”.

I mostly explored the neighbourhoods of Kadıköy, Maltepe, Üsküdar (all on the Asian side), Beşiktaş, Şişli, Beyoğlu, Fatih and Eyüp (all on the European side), with brief stints in Çekmeköy and Ataşehir (Asian side). Unfortunately, due to a good amount of tiredness from walking around 20 or 30 km every day, lots of rain and wet shoes I ended up not exploring the neighbourhoods of Bakırköy and Zeytinburnu (the latter one not being recommended for tourists anyway, see "unsafe areas" below, but probably very interesting). There are 39 districts in greater Istanbul.

The districts of Istanbul

Drinking water:
The tap water in Istanbul might or might not be safe to drink. It might be contaminated with killer bacteria (or other pathogens) and/or other unwelcome components like heavy metals, pesticides and whatnot. The tap water is usually more or less chlorinated. I did drink some tap water at first but was stringently admonished by the locals and strongly advised not to do so. “No one in Turkey drinks tap water”, and some people have in the (recent) past died from drinking tap water in Turkey (not in Istanbul, I think).
The best idea seems to be to buy the five litre (or bigger) water bottles (Erikli being his favourite brand, one local told me). Many people also have water delivered to their homes in BIG water dispenser style bottles.
You can also boil the water which will eliminate the risk of infection (boiling will kill all relevant bacteria, viruses etc.), so you will not die or get ill – at least not from infection.

There are several 100% vegan restaurants, especially concentrated in Kadıköy (Asian side). There are also many vegan-friendly non-vegan places, again especially in Kadıköy … but also quite a few vegan and vegan-friendly places on the European side.
Minimize plastic waste: Do bring a Tupperware style food container for buying take out from vegan restaurants. This way you can avoid lots of plastic (and aluminium, and cardboard) waste.
Before you buy anything: Be prepared to reject – or hand back – any avoidable plastic bags. Don't give up and keep trying.

Fruit and vegetables: You can buy fruit and vegetables from street vendors, supermarkets, small grocery stores (similar to the British "Off-licence" shops) or from street markets (= bazaar = “pazar”). The prices can vary but they do not seem to dramatically differ between these four categories (street vendors, supermarkets, grocery stores, markets). The very common supermarket chain named “Şok” (pronounced “shock” and meaning “shock”, too) seems to be on the cheaper side. Buying from street vendors is cooler, of course. And if you're a proper vegan, walking through a big street market (fruit and veg) should be more fun.
It's a bit difficult to minimize your use of plastic bags. The traditional system in grocery stores is to put each type of fruit and vegetables into one of those thin plastic bags, then take the bags to the "weighing man" with the scales who will then put a price and barcode label onto your bags which you then take inside (fruit, vegetables and weighing man are typically outside) to pay. The more "modern" system is to have the fruit and vegetables weighed at the check-out where you pay. One possibility is to try to reuse the plastic bags (but they rip easily) by crossing out the old labels with a pen.

In Moda, Kadıköy
A market somewhere along the border of Kadıköy and Üsküdar
Huge rocket (arugula), Napa cabbage, spinach and turnips at Çarşamba Pazarı in Fatih 
Huge rocket
Medlar fruits (Mespilus germanica, "musmula"). Despite the Latin name these fruits do not originate anywhere near Germany but rather in Turkey and the surrounding regions (from Bulgaria to Iran).

Wild strawberries: I saw some wild berries on the island of Heybeliada (one of the Princes' Islands). And later I was shown the same berries (referred to as “wild strawberries”) by a friend in a market in Kadıköy. Unfortunately, I didn't try them. The Latin name should be Arbutus unedo and they seem to exist in other Mediterranean countries, but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten them.

Wild strawberries on Heybeliada

Wild strawberries at the daily market in Kadıköy
Carob pods
Carob syrup
Fruit or vegetable based desserts, at the daily market in Kadıköy
Left: pumpkin, right: quince

Corn on the cob: During the summer months, but also in winter (I was in Istanbul in November), many street vendors sell boiled and grilled corn (corn = “mısır”) on the cob. Boiled corn is called "süt mısır" (= "milk corn"). It's only called "milk" (probably) because it looks clean or "pure", but it does not contain milk. It's just boiled corn. The roasted (grilled) corn is called "köz mısır" (= "smouldering coals corn").

Mezes: "Meze" means starter, side dish, or appetizer. There are special restaurants for mezes called "meyhane" (literally "alcohol place"). Unfortunately, I didn't visit a meyhane. Typically, alcohol (typically rakı) is served with the mezes. No "full meal" is eaten. The waiter will come to your table and present all the mezes available on a platter. You can choose which ones you like. Everyone shares the different mezes on the table and the mezes are eaten with toasted bread. Many mezes are typically vegan. The magic word for vegans here is "olive oil". If the meze is made with olive oil then it should be vegan (olive oil = "zeytin yağı", pronounce: sey-tin yaah). Mezes are also available from delicatessen store-type market vendors.
The following types of meze should be vegan:
- Dolma: stuffed vine leaves
- Ezme: chili tomato paste (Typical ingredients: chopped tomatoes, olive oil, onion, green chilis, garlic, lemon, fresh parsley, salt and black pepper)
- Patlıcan salatası: grilled aubergine (eggplant) salad (Typical ingredients: charcoal grilled and mashed aubergine, fresh or grilled tomatoes, green peppers, onion, olive oil, vinegar, lemon and salt)
- Şakşuka: fried aubergine (eggplant) with tomato sauce (Typical ingredients:
- Zeytinyağlı enginar: artichoke and olive oil pâté (Typical ingredients: artichoke hearts, green peas, carrots, onion and olive oil, and sometimes fava beans, potatoes and/or dill)
- Barbunya: a borlotti bean-based pâté (Typical ingredients: borlotti beans, onions, carrots, tomatoes and olive oil, and sometimes green peppers, potatoes and/or lemon juice)
- Fava: a fava bean (big white bean) based pâté ... This meze seems to be mostly served in fish restaurants. (Typical ingredients: Fava beans, roasted onions, fresh dill or parsley, lemon and olive oil)
Stuffed vine leaves ("dolma") in Carrefour, available in many places

Pumpkin dessert with tahini ("Tahinli kabak tatlısı"): Kabak tatlısı is a seasonal (autumn/winter, pumpkin season) pumpkin dessert. Different versions exist, and it might contain milk. It can be topped with “kaymak” (a creamy dairy product) or it may be topped with tahini. So, the version with tahini (not kaymak) is called “Tahinli kabak tatlısı”. But you would still need to check if it’s vegan. Unfortunately, I didn’t track it down ... But a friend sent me a picture from a restaurant named "Hüner" in Fatih that sometimes (not every day, plus it's seasonal) has vegan tahinli kabak tatlısı. Scroll down to more photos of Hüner restaurant.

 tahinli kabak tatlısı at Hüner in Fatih (ingredients: pumpkin, sugar, tahini, walnuts)

The Turkish word for bread is "ekmek". Ekmek typically refers to the standard ekmek, a standard fluffy white bread loaf with two pointy ends, which is vegan. There are, of course, many other types of bread many of which are vegan, too.
Standard "ekmek"

More vegan bread (in Carrefour):
A bread called "bazlamer"

A kind of pancake called "katmer". The ingredients list "vegetable margarine" ("bitkisel margarin"), so I'm not sure if this is 100% vegan.

Multivitamin (including vitamin B12) and multimineral fortified tortillas (might contain non-vegan vitamin D3)

Simit: Simit is a ring of bread generously covered in sesame seeds, but also sometimes available topped with sunflower seeds. Both are widely available from street vendors with trolley, especially along the water front (European and Asian side). One Simit typically costs 1.75 lira (occasionally 1.50 lira). The plain "street simit" (sokak simit; with sesame or sunflower seeds) is vegan. The same type of simit sold in some grocery shops and bread-only bakeries also seems to be vegan. However, the "shop simit" (patisserie simit) is softer and NOT vegan (egg and/or milk are added) – this includes the simit from the common patisserie chain Simit Sarayı which is not vegan. Google translate translates "simit" as "bagel" ... being German I would have never thought of a bagel, but not an absurd translation maybe.

Açma (pronounce: adj-mah): Açma is another type of ring-shaped savoury bun is açma which is typically NOT vegan.

Poğaça (pronounce: pohh-ah-djah): A flaky, savoury, typically NON-vegan type of pastry. There are some places you can find both vegan açma and vegan poğaça. I failed to track them down. For vegan poğaça try Vegan Bakkal (100% vegan shop and café) in Moda, Kadıköy, Asian side. When I was there unfortunately the poğaça dough was still sleeping.
Typical versions of poğaça are plain ("sade" = simple) or with olives ("zeytinli"), ... or with meat or cheese.
I was told there is a bakery in Bakırköy that sells vegan poğaça and vegan açma. I didn't go there (unfortunately). The name of the bakery is: Bakırköy Un Mamülleri ("un mamülleri" means "flour products"). The address is: Sakızağacı Mahallesi, İstanbul Cd. No:74, Bakırköy/İstanbul (It's next to a Domino's pizza place).

Lavaş (pronounce: lah-vash): Lavaş is thin, papery, large and thin flat bread. Lavaş is vegan.
Lavaş (stolen picture)

Pide: Pide is a fluffy yeast-leavened pizza-like bread. Plain pide should be vegan. Often pide is topped with cheese or cheese and meat.

You cannot eat yufka just like that, straight from the pack. It needs to be baked in an oven or toasted in a pan.

Other grain-based foods:
Çiğ köfte (pronounced: Djee köf-teh): Çiğ köfte is something that vegan tourists should know. Çiğ köfte means "raw meatballs" and it's a dish originating from the south east of Turkey. Originally çiğ köfte contained raw minced meat, bulgur and a tomato paste. But using raw meat was made illegal (around 10 or 20 years ago?), and now all çiğ köfte sold publicly is meat free, i.e. the meat is left out of the recipe. Çiğ köfte is vegan - but in some places they might have some optional sauces that are not vegan. I ate a LOT of çiğ köfte from different places, and never noticed anything that might potentially be non-vegan. Apparently the Komagene chain have a non-vegan burger sauce, but I did not see this sauce when buying çiğ köfte from Komagene. The çiğ köfte mass is made from bulgur, tomato paste and spices. Typically, lettuce, tomatoes, fresh parsley and pickled chilis are added. They usually ask you, pointing at each added ingredient separately. So, you can decline the chilis. Some places have a spicy sauce though, and with the chilis or spicy sauce çiğ köfte is spicy (hot) but not extremely spicy. Many places (but not all) use a pomegranate molasses sauce as a topping - which tastes delicious. The çiğ köfte mass is not warmed up, and it's served in a flat bread as a roll (roll = "dürüm"). Someone told me (and Wikipedia says this, too) that instead of meat ground nuts are added to the çiğ köfte mass, according to the English Wikipedia (24 November 2018) "walnuts, hazelnuts of potato". I never tasted any nuts in the çiğ köfte, so adding nuts (and/or potato) might be uncommon or the amounts might be small. Çiğ köfte places can be found practically everywhere, especially along main streets.
Remember that "çiğ" just means "raw" and "köfte" means "meatball". So only the term "çiğ köfte" refers to "çiğ köfte". You will also see the words "çiğ" and "köfte" separately in other places, referring to (typically) raw meat or milk and meat balls respectively. Also note that çiğ köfte is still prepared with real raw meat in private households. So, if you end up being invited to someone's home for çiğ köfte, it's very likely this will be old school, traditional, non-vegetarian çiğ köfte. One non-vegetarian described the new, meatless çiğ köfte as taste wise being "only a pale shadow of its former glory".
Çiğ köfte


Çiğ köfte sellers

Çiğ köfte at the supermarket

Çiğ köfte pomegranate syrup sauce at Semsür Çiğ köfte

Lahmacun (pronounced: lach-maah-chuhn; Scottish "ch" in "lach"): Lahmacun is a lavaş bread "pizza" topped with minced meat. You can buy vegan lahmacun in Vegan Istanbul (European side) or Vegan Bakkal (Asian side).
Lahmacun at Vegan Bakkal
Lahmacun at Vegan Istanbul

Like in other countries sweet types of bread and pastry usually contain eggs and/or milk.
Some street vendors have trolleys with rice (pilav) and chickpeas (nohut) ... and chicken (tavuk). You can buy the rice and chickpeas without the chicken, but the rice has typically been cooked in the chicken broth.
Whole grains and whole grain pasta seem to be quite uncommon.

Fasulye: Fasulye means "bean" but usually refers to non-huge white beans, i.e. something like navy beans, like the beans in baked beans. There are also fasulye-based mezes ("appetizers", small side dishes) and I also bought a fasulye-based hummus-style bean pâté at a supermarket.
The word fasulye quite probably comes from the Latin name Phaseolus describing the genus of beans originating from the Americas.
"Kuru fasulye" is a navy bean-based dish. Note that it can be made with or without meat, and that butter might be added. Typical ingredients: navy beans, tomatoes, onions, ... Often eaten with cooked rice (pilav; note that the rice might have been cooked in meat stock) and pickles (not sure what kind). It is also sometimes eaten with bulgur instead of rice. The meat added is often "pastirma" (a kind of seasoned beef). Some consider "kuru fasulye" the national dish of Turkey. I didn't try it.
Lentil soup: I was told that lentil soup is a good and delicious vegan option in traditional Turkish cuisine. I didn't try any lentil soup (but I did try a homemade typically Turkish lentil dish) and I don't know whether animal products are often or sometimes added.
Barbunya: A white bean with purple "patterns", also known as cranberry bean or borlotti bean.
Barbunya (borlotti bean) (stolen picture)

Nohut: Chickpeas/garbanzo beans, used widely in Turkish cooking.
Hummus: Hummus is Arabic, not Turkish. It isn't extremely common, but not rare. Like other bean-based dips/pâtés it can be found in meze restaurants ("meyhane"), some supermarkets and especially Arab falafel places.
Hummus and bean-based pâtés at a supermarket (I think this was at a Çağrı supermarket)

Falafel: Not typically Turkish, but Arabic. Best found in Arab falafel places. Especially recommended: Gazze Falafel in Fatih (near Aksaray metro station; really good falafel for 5 lira). Apart from Gazze Falafel the area around Yenikapı (means "new port") metro station in general is "full of Syrians", like Fatih and Eyüp in general. Therefore, the many falafel shops, whereas falafel had been quite uncommon in Istanbul (and Turkey) until recently.
In Germany many Turkish "kebab" shops sell falafel nowadays (with the popularity of vegetarian food rising) and often they "tamper" with the original falafel "recipe" by adding eggs. This might also be the case in Turkey - however I did not see any Turkish falafel places.
Falafel at Falafel Karim Sahyoun near Taksim Square, in Beyoğlu

Felafelköy in Beyoğlu

A 100% vegan restaurant (Community Kitchen) is located just a few houses down the hill, on the same street, but it was closed and not identifiable as a restaurant when I was there.
Kumbaracı Ykş. 35A (where Community Kitchen is)

Falafel at Gazze Felafili in Fatih

Falafel in the supermarket (Carrefour)

Gluten-free bread: I bought some delicious legume-based bread from the 100% vegan shop Vegan Dükkan ("dükkan" = shop; in Beyoğlu).

Soya milk: Soya milk seems to be extremely expensive in Istanbul. Soya milk and other plant-based milks are available in several supermarkets, especially Carrefour, and also for example in Vegan Dükkan. I saw the small, 250 ml Alpro soya milk cartons in one Starbucks in Beşiktaş.
Soya milk at a Starbucks in Beşiktaş

Soya milk in supermarkets
Note that these (picture below) are not hazelnut, walnut and sesame milk, nut cow's milk with added nuts/sesame.

Tofu: Tofu isn't very widely eaten or available. I saw tofu in a Chinese shop (it didn't have a price on it and was packaged in flimsy plastic containers with water in them). Vegan Bakkal, Vegan Dükkan, and the grocery shop in Kadıköy, possibly also Vegan Istanbul, and some health food shops also carry tofu.
Chinese shop (They didn't really have many interesting things. I bought some wasabi powder just to buy something.)

Vegan cheese and vegan sausages:
These were really good taste and texture wise. The cheeses are made from pea protein and potato protein and coconut oil. Coconut oil is not a very good choice from a health (and probably environmental) point of view. The cheese flavour comes from an aroma additive. The sausage is made from pea and potato protein and sunflower oil (seems good). They are fortified with vitamin B12, but the amounts are low. What's weird is that vitamin B12 is not listed in the ingredients, so it's unclear whether these products really are fortified and really do contain vitamin B12. Regarding taste and texture these are really good products. They are made in Turkey.

Nuts and seeds and dried fruit:
Nuts and seeds and dried fruit are widely available in supermarkets, "nuts and dried fruit shops", and street markets (bazaars, "pazarı").
The hunt for the cheapest tahini. Probably try the supermarkets Şok or (second choice) Carrefour. I was pleasantly surprised that tahini is so widely known, available and used in Turkey (Istanbul).
Tahini at Şok

Relatively cheap hazelnuts and pistachios at Carrefour

A market somewhere around the border of Kadıköy and Üsküdar. These nuts looked like a good deal for pine nuts. However, they were slim-looking raw peanuts. Probably they were meant to look like pine nuts.
Raw peanuts ("fake pine nuts")

Actual pine nuts at the Atatürk Airport metro station supermarket.

Sucuk: There is also something called "sucuk" which is a sausage-shaped sweet snack made from nuts (typically walnuts) and sun-dried grape pulp. There are however, different varieties using different kinds of nuts and dried fruit. Honey does not seem to be used for sucuk. Note that "sucuk" (along with "sosis") is the normal word for "sausage". So, sucuk in the meat counter refers to sausage.

Sucuk at Carrefour. Note that the left one contains "bal" = honey.

Sucuk at a market at the border of Kadıköy and Üsküdar (same stall that sold the "fake pine nuts")

Chestnuts: In the winter months you can see many chestnut ("kestane") vendors in the streets. Usually 100 grams cost 10 lira. The chestnut vendors often also sell boiled and grilled corn.

Halvah (“helva”): Helva is typically vegan, as far as I know.
I bought helva from one of the most traditional sweet shops in Istanbul (
Ali Muhidfin Hacibekir). They also had it packaged with ingredients also listed in English, so I could check them. This helva seems like pretty standard helva, though.
Helva in Carrefour

Ali Muhidfin Hacibekir (in Kadıköy): The guy in the shop sold me more than I wanted to buy pretending that it was difficult to cut thinner slices.

Turkish delights (“lokum”): Are available in many sweet shops and many should be vegan. Often, they are also available packaged with ingredients. I didn’t check them out.

Turkish delights in a sweet shop in Kadıköy. Sweet shops sell mostly Turkish delights and helva.

At the Atatürk Airport metro station's supermarket (open 24/7): a vegan carrot and coconut bar. The hazelnut bars might also be vegan (I forgot to check. It was 2 am).

I didn't see mushroom sold or used widely. I was told in Turkish cooking mushrooms are used, but not that often or in large amounts (like in some east Asian cuisines). Mushrooms are used for example in the form of mushroom sauce, mushroom soup or grilled mushroom with cheese. I would love to see (and taste) some vegan versions of these.

Restaurants and shops on the Asian side:
Muhtelif Mekan (100% vegan) in Yeldeğirmeni, Kadıköy ... I should have visited this place more than once!

Mahatma (100% vegan) in Yeldeğirmeni, Kadıköy (the first vegan restaurant in Turkey)
Börek and cake
I forgot the name but it's a savoury spice mix topped bread.
Poppy seed butter
"Tahinli menemen"

A regular (non-veg) grocery shop called Salı Pazarı advertising their special offer of vegan cheeses, vegan sausages and tofu, on Karakolhane Cd. (in Yeldeğirmeni, Kadıköy). just a few houses up the street from Mahatma. Go to the back of the store.

Vegan Bakkal (100% vegan shop and café) in Moda, Kadıköy
This was a wrapped burger, especially for me. 

Lana's Kitchen & Coffee (100% vegan) in Kadıköy
Should you end up trying to walk there from Moda past the big football stadium on a day of a football game all the streets in quite a large area surrounding the stadium will be closed off by the police or security. You can still however easily walk from Moda to Lana's KItchen & Coffee (I found out on the way back) via Fahrettin Kerim Gökay Cd., a big street with a bridge across the motorway, and the bridge has a sidewalk. Unfortunately I could only try the burgers.
Vegan burger (as you can see I was hungry and the burger didn't allow waiting.)

La Pitsa (non-vegetarian with two pizzas clearly marked as vegan, friendly English-speaking staff, useful in a non-veg restaurant.)
The first two pizzas on the menu are vegan!
Delicious pizza (Sorry, I just woke up one day and wanted pizza. That never happens to me. Probably culture shock.)

An anarchist café in Moda, Kadıköy (next to the Bariş Manço Cultural Centre) ... I think this place is called Sahaf 26A and it's vegetarian.

PASAJ Cook & Book (vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurant and book shop) in Moda, Kadıköy. The white one isn't vegan and the cake was not vegan.

Yöresel Lezzetler (meaning "local flavours"), a place with traditional Turkish food and many vegan options in Moda, Kadıköy (address: Caferağa Mahallesi, Ağabey Sk. No:16)
Wherever you see alumnium it's because I bought the food as take-away and I failed to bring a food box.
"Ev yemekleri" means "home cooking"

Rulo Lezzetler ("rulo" means "roll" and "lezzetler" means "flavours"), a vegetarian place with many vegan options, in Moda, Kadıköy

In Kadıköy there's also YesilChi (100% vegan) and Komşu Kafe Collective (an anarchist place) which I failed to go to. There's also PO Juicery and Tahin (Tahin is a non-veg restaurant) which I saw but where I didn't go inside (and forgot to take a photo).

Someone has given me another insider tip: Café Sista in Yeldeğirmeni, Kadıköy, make a delicious vegan version of "kokoreç" ... a dish traditionally made from lamb or goat intestines wrapped around various internal organs ... 

An insider tip for vegan ice cream is an ice cream parlour chain called "YUSDO". They have various places both on the Asian and European side of Istanbul. You can see the different locations on their website.

Restaurants and shops on the European side:
Vegan Istanbul (100% vegan), in Beyoğlu

Vegan Dükkan (100% vegan shop), in Beyoğlu. Quite tiny shop with lots of special vegan products. As I wasn't looking for anything specific I didn't buy much. But I bought the Italian children's book below (in Turkish).

Blended, quite close to the Beşiktaş ferry dock. I stayed a few houses away from this place but didn't go there as I had no more money left. But I saw they were open but didn't take a photo.

No 70 Café, quite close to the Beşiktaş ferry dock, too. They know what they're doing. Really friendly staff. You should not miss this one. They didn't have the vegan cheesecake unfortunately.

Bi Nevi Deli (100% vegan) in Etiler, Beşiktaş, not too far from Bebek. I passed by there quite early while walking to Bebek. I think they weren't open yet.

Bella Vista vegan hostel (100% vegan) in Beyoğlu. Note that there is no restaurant/café at the hostel (in contrast to what the Peta Istanbul guide from two years ago says). It's a hostel only. I just went in and out. The staff was very friendly.

Cremeria Milano: vegan sorbet options, but not marked as vegan. The ice cream cones were not vegan. In Beşiktaş.
The five vegan flavours 
For vegan ice cream also see YUSDO (who are reported to have many vegan options), see above.

KafeNA: vegetarian, mostly vegan restaurant in Beşiktaş. I didn't go inside, but I saw that they sell vegan yoghurt.

YUZU (100% vegan) in Beyoğlu, close to the (walkable) bridge to Eminönü. I didn't go inside.

Zencefil in Beyoğlu. They are supposed to have good vegan options. I didn't go inside.

Hüner, Ev yemekleri ("hüner" means "skill" and "ev yemekleri" means "home cooking"): a restaurant with tradtional and healthy Turkish Mediterranean food. Many vegan options and really fresh and tasty. They did not have vegan dessert on the day that I went. However, a friend sent me a photo of the dessert "tahinli kabak tatlısıert" (vegan) from this restaurant from a few days later (scroll up to "Tahinli kabak tatlısı" for the photo). In Fatih (address: Molla Gürani Mahallesi Gureba Hastanesi Cd., No 59/B). Note that this place is quite close to the "iron church" in Balat (see below).

There is supposed to be a 100% vegan restaurant named Vegisso at this address: Bozkurt Cd. 23/1 (this means number 23, apartment 1) in Şişli. I walked past this place but did not see the restaurant. I didn't take a closer look. Maybe it says something about Vegisso on the bell. But this must be the right place, and there are new reviews for this place on Happy Cow. According to Happy Cow this is a "Vegan cafe operating out of a house with a garden". Ring the bell where the blue door is!

Another 100% vegan restaurant I missed was VegaNarsist (address: Halaskargazi Mah., Kuyumcu İrfan Sok. 12 A, Nişantaşı, Şişli). I thought I was at that address, but I think I might have looked on the wrong side of the street as Google maps was a bit off. ("Narcist" means "narcissist".)

Food delivery app: 
There is a widely used food delivery app called "Yemeksepeti". It's only available in Turkish. You can have food from all kinds of restaurants (who are registered with this app, I assume) delivered to your door. There probably aren't many vegan options, but some, like for example çiğ köfte. 

I didn’t explore spices too much. Traditional western Turkish Mediterranean cuisine does not use a lot of spices. In eastern Turkey they use more spices.

Zahter: a spice mix also used in Arab countries like Lebanon

Sumac (“sumak”): one of the ingredients in zahter

Sugary hazelnut butter (70% hazelnuts, 30% sugar). "Findik ezmesi" means hazelnut butter. Tastes amazing. I wish they were also selling this without sugar, or with less sugar. 
Kim supermarket might be the cheapest place to buy this sugary hazelnut butter (I might be wrong).

Fruit juices in cartons are available in all grocery stores and supermarkets. Most of these fruit juices are fruit juice drinks (sugar water with some added juice), so look for the big "%100" on the cartons. These are 100% juice, usually made from concentrate. Often, they have the ingredients listed in English, too - which most products in Istanbul don't seem to have. Note that most non-apple juice juices are mostly apple juice, despite the cover depicting another type of fruit with an apple hidden in the background.

Carrot juice drink from the Atatürk Airport metro station's supermarket. A good place to spend your last liras (not very expensive).

Black tea: Black tea is called "çay" (pronounce: djah-eh), and Turks drink çay all the time, all day long and everywhere, also with meals. Çay is typically served - you will see this everywhere - in small glasses that are as the locals say, "shaped like a woman". The glasses are called "ince belli bardak" (= "slim waste glass"; note that "belli" doesn't mean "belly" but "waist").
Black tea in a "ince belli bardak"

Turkish coffee: Turkish, i.e. unfiltered coffee is available in all cafés. It comes in small cups and about half of it is thick "coffee grounds mud" that you are not supposed to drink (or eat). One Turkish coffee per day is considered "enough" by many.

Turkish coffee (from Ethiopia if I remember correctly) in Kadıköy

Turkish (= unfiltered) coffee in Fatih

Coffee grains: "fal bakmak"; coffee grains reading fortune teller: "fal je"

Paper-filtered ("European style") coffee: Filtered coffee is also widely available everywhere. European-style coffee from Nicaragua in Babat, Fatih (in the glass).    

Freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices: In many places you can see street vendors sell freshly squeezed orange or pomegranate juice. But look out for real juice bars that sell a huge variety of juices. There is a particularly good place in Kadıköy, near the metro station. It's called "Meyve Dünyası" (meaning "fruit world"). Address: Rıhtım Cd. No: 30a, Kadıköy. You can buy one litre of carrot juice for 8 liras. They also have "red carrot" (red turnip) juice - unfortunately I didn't try it.
Meyve Dünyası, near Kadıköy metro station

Also in Kadıköy

Boza: Boza is a tasty thick drink the colour of pale eggnog. Boza is vegan. Don’t mix it up with Salep – often sold in the same places – which is not vegan. Boza is made from water, sugar and fermented millet, corn or wheat. In Istanbul it typically seems to be made from millet or a mix of millet and corn, but all three grains are possible (in Egypt they seem to use barley). If you buy boza from a stall that serves boza in a cup, they will top it with “leblebi” which are roasted chickpeas.
The English Wikipedia (26 November 2018) suggests that "boza" might be the origin of the word "booze" and possibly even "beer".
Vefa brand boza in Carrefour (made from water, sugar and millet). Boza used to be an alcoholic drink, but in the 19th century the current non-alcoholic version became popular. Vefa is a neighbourhood in Fatih, and Vefa seems to be one of the original companies producing this new non-alcoholic boza. Their shop opened in 1876 (according to Wikipedia) and is still open today. Had I had Wikipedia in Turkey (see below) I would have visited that place.  

Leblebi (roasted and slightly salted chickpeas) as a topping for boza (in Carrefour)

Balaban brand boza (made from water, sugar, millet and corn). Interestingly (and wrongly) the Balaban website claims that their boza contains vitamin B12. ("Boza vitamin açısından oldukça zengin içeriğe sahiptir. İçerisinde A, B6, B12, C ve E vitaminleri bulunur." (checked 25 November 2018)

Boza (vegan) and Salep (not vegan) vendor in Eyüp

Boza vendor in Kadıköy (boza made with millet)

Alcohol is widely consumed in Turkey. Drinking alcohol in public is illegal, but widely tolerated, especially in situations where this is commonly done, like in the evenings, wherever people meet up for a night out (or a football game in the stadium).

Beer: Expensive but widely consumed. Not as widely as in Germany, though. Turkish brands are Efes and Bomonti. Tuborg and the Tuborg label Frederik that are sold in Turkey are also produced in Turkey. A Turkish underdog brand I tried is Gara Gazu (meaning "black sheep"). Other common brands are Heineken, Beck's, Budweiser and Corona (I assume they are imported but I didn't check).
I'm assuming that all the beers shown here are completely vegan, as in they were not filtered using gelatine or anything of the kind. I wrote to the companies but have only received a reply from Türk Tuborgf so far. Türk Tuborg have assured me that all any of the Tuborg brands made in Turkey (Tuborg, Carlsberg, Frederik, Skol, and Troy) are produces according to the German purity laws and that no gelatine or other animal products are used for filtering. ... Note that the "Gara Guzu" says "unfiltered".


Efes (the most widely consumed beer in Turkey probably)

Gara Guzu (must try)

Frederik (by Tuborg, but made in Turkey) ... The green one (India Pale Ale) is a must try. ... Goes well with popcorn as you can see.

Wine: As a country with a nice climate Turkey can make lovely wine. And they do. Not that I know anything about wine. This wine might quite well be filtered with gelatine. I asked the company but haven't received a reply yet. I don't think it's that important. Ever seen a 500 ml wine bottle? Micropackaging meets Islam.

Rakı (pronounce: reh-keh): Rakı is an anise-flavoured liquor that is similar to its Greek cousin ouzo. Typically, people drink it after adding cold water and then ice cubes. This makes the rakı look whitish rather than clear. According to Istanbul Insider rakı served in this way is also called "lion's milk" (kitschy cliches about Turkey anyone?). The most popular brand seems to be "Yeni" (which is 100% vegan, according to a statement by the company Yeni on the Barnivore website). Rakı is made from grapes and aniseed. Rakı is typically drunk with mezes (in the "meyhane" restaurants) or with fish.
(stolen picture)

Essential and semi-essential vocabulary:
Hello = merhaba
Thanks = teşekkürler (pronounce: Teh-sheh-kür-lar[sh])
Another way to say thanks is: Sağol (pronounce: Sah-ohl)
Sorry = pardon (or the more difficult version: afedersiniz)
Yes = evet
No = hayır
Water = su
Juice = [name of fruit/vegetable] suyu
Carrot juice = havuç suyu
Apple = elma
Banana = muz
Pomegranate = nar
Orange = portakal
Tangerine = mandalina
Dates = hurma (Note that “hurma” can also refer to sharon fruits/kakis/persimmons)
Bread = ekmek
Cooked rice = pilav
Milk = süt
Without milk = sütsüz
Yoghurt = yoğurt
Egg = yumurta
Without egg = yumurtasız
Honey = bal
Without honey = bal olmadan
Cheese = peynir
Vegan = vegan (pronounce: vehh-gun)
Meat (typically referring to beef) = et
Chicken = tavuk
Fish = balık
Flour = un
Salt = tuz
Yeast = maya
Wheat = buğday
One, two, three = bir, iki, üç
Four, five = dört, beş
Six, seven = altı, yedi
Eight, nine, ten = sekiz, dokuz, on
Litre = litre (pronounce: lih-treh)
Lira = lira
Cheers! (when drinking) = Şerefe!
Enjoy your meal! = Afiyet olsun!
I don't speak Turkish = Türkçe bilmiyorum (I didn't learn this one. It was quite obvious to everyone.)

The best way to move around if you want to see anything is (in my opinion) with what yo mamma gave ya: walking. You can also rent a bike. You can easily cycle (and find bikes to rent) along the coast from (European side) Bebek (meaning: “baby”) down to Beşiktaş (see below, “special places to visit”) and from (Asian side) Maltepe up to Kadıköy.
Cycling anywhere else without prior instruction by local cyclists I wouldn't recommend. If you like racing bike type cycling you can join the locals on one of their weekend 5 am (no traffic) cycle tours.
The public transport network is great, too, and consists of:
- two types of metro (the actual metro and the Marmaray)
- ferries
- busses (normal busses and the Metrobus)
- small busses (vans) called "dolmuş" (meaning: filled)
The Marmaray (word: Sea of Marmara and the Turkish word "ray" meaning "rail") is a subway that passes below the Bosporus.

The Metrobus (which I didn't take) is a special type of bus that passes the Bosporus via one of the bridges (you cannot walk on these bridges) in a special bus lane.
There are also taxis, collective taxis (like the "colectivos" in South America), and Über type taxis. If you are three or four people a taxi might be just as cheap as taking the bus. Note that if you're a foreigner, taxi drivers might rip you off. Also, taxis are not really sustainable. Public transport should minimize fuel use and air pollution. This is best done by avoiding cars.
It is advisable to buy an "IstanbulKart" (comparable to an "Oyster card" in London). The IstanbulKart is available from the machines at metro stations. The machines can speak several languages - yes speak, they actually shout (making it even more obvious to everyone nearby and not so nearby that you're a foreigner) - the languages include English, Spanish, Italian, German, and I think Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese and Arabic (use a button on the left until you find the flag symbolizing your language). I only tried the English. The machines do NOT accept 50 lira notes. You can pay with a 20 lira note, pay for the card (it costs 12 lira I think, just for the card itself) and get the remaining 8 liras as credit. You can also top up your credit with these machines. There are also certain kiosks and small shops where you could buy or top up your IstanbulKart. These places can be found in very touristy areas, but they are generally very uncommon. These shops are supposed to have a banner or sign outside that says "Akbil Dolum Noktası" - I only saw one such place outside the touristy areas, and maybe two or three in a very touristy area.
The IstanbulKart can (and should) be used on all metros, busses and ferries. This includes the ferries to the Princess Islands. The IstanbulKart CANNOT be used in the "dolmuş" (small busses) or any type of taxi.

Turkish culture:
In Germany (or England) Turks are stereotypically known for their traditional religious values, macho culture, proneness to violence, oppression of women and possibly other less than charming attributes (these are existing prejudices - I'm not saying they are true). However, what you see in Istanbul is VERY different. Comparable to (other) European cities there is no clear sign of any of the above. To the contrary, if one had to describe the people in the streets of Istanbul maybe two words would come up: Solidarity and mellowness, as in they help each other out and seem to be laid back. They practice what I would call intense non-aggressiveness. “Intense” because it is so noticeable. If a car is blocking the street and 20 other cars have to wait, the drivers don’t go nuts, they don’t react with anger and act like this is a major offence. Instead they seemingly act more rationally and just look for a solution: find the driver and tell them to move their car, non-aggressively. This is just one example. The streets are overcrowded but people (and cars) move around swiftly, avoiding collisions, and no (East London style) “I’m on the sidewalk, you step down” attitude. Drivers frequently allow the stranded pedestrians to cross the road.
People, it seems, show solidarity and mutual help much more so than in Germany for example (which is not saying that much), acting as if they all were one big family, you as a foreigner included. This is especially (but not just) true of more traditional neighbourhoods that are more like actual communities than the more modern building block and high-rise neighbourhoods. It seems normal in a supermarket for one cashier to hand money to the other cashier via the hands of the customer standing in the middle, even if that customer is a small boy. This is even more clear in the small busses (dolmuş) in which it is common practice to hand your bus fare from the back of the bus to the person in front of you who then passes it on until it reaches the driver. The reason for this laid-back and non-aggressive behaviour seems to partly be just Turkish (or Istanbul) culture, but there is another aspect to it: One local explained to me that people avoid aggressive behaviour also for another reason, namely fear. They are afraid (or cautious) that the other person might pull out a knife or gun! So it’s probably best if foreigners, too, adapt to the Istanbul non-aggressiveness behavioural etiquette.

"No one even considers that someone could steal something" I thought. When I walked past that spot five minutes later one sharon fruit was missing.

Regional differences (a comical overview):
Turkey has a diversity of different cultures, all of which can be found in Istanbul. This is simplified and possibly humorous overview of the regional differences in Turkey regarding food and attitudes:
- Western Black Sea region (north-west): eat fish, beef, vegetables, mixed cuisine, not keen on large amounts of beef, eat beef maybe once a week, once or twice a week fish, never aggressive.
- Western part and south-west coast until and including the city of Mersin: Mediterranean diet, little beef, lots of fruit and vegetables, not aggressive, when angry they shout.
- Eastern part: eat beef with every meal, liver for breakfast, many Kurdish people, similar cuisine to Syria and Iraq, when angry immediately violent
- Eastern Black Sea region (north-east): eat even more fish (than western Black Sea region), Laz people, Laz language (almost extinct; only spoken by few people, mostly grandparents), known to be relaxed and funny, famous for their jokes, when angry they get out their guns
- Middle Anatolia: eat wheat, many carbohydrates, many bakery and patisserie foods, many overweight people, especially women, where simit and poğaça come from. Not known for being very angry people.

Unsafe areas:
Istanbul is relatively safe, probably, at least compared to the average South American big city (which again isn't saying much). It's probably best to avoid walking alone, after night falls in empty dark side streets, especially if you're a woman, or if you look like a rich tourist.
I was advised to particularly avoid the neighbourhoods of Kasımpaşa (in Beyoğlu; "an area where murder is common"), the backstreets of Balat (Fatih; which I did explore during daylight) and Zeytinburnu, an area with many drug addicted individuals desperate for money ("They'll take anything you have"). Zeytinburnu is a working-class area with many central and east Asian immigrants and a reputation for unsavoury Islam-inspired political fanatics (if you know what I mean) and there are many leather shops there. All these areas are on the European side.

In my experience police officers were strict but made an effort to be friendly. Given the current circumstances of the world this does not seem like unreasonable behaviour. I once had to unpack my entire big backpack in the metro station of Atatürk Airport for which the police assistant apologized afterwards. Again, the police made an effort to be quite friendly (not something I have experienced in the past with the police in any country).
You should carry your passport/ID with you at all times. As a German citizen I only carried an ID, no passport, which is acceptable. My passport was never checked though, except for once in a metro station. Note that in the streets near metro stations (like in Kadıköy) you often find young people in colourful vests with a logo on them (like WWF, Greenpeace, animal welfare groups, etc.) approaching you for a donation. To a foreigner the police can look quite similar: young people in red vests (that say POLIS). So make sure you're polite to the police.

Blocked internet sites:
Many internet websites are blocked in Turkey. This includes Wikipedia. Which websites are blocked fluctuates. Apparently, like in China, every teenager knows how to circumvent this nuisance by using VPN clients. Funny, that now in Germany I'm looking at the Turkish Wikipedia pages.

Stray animals:
In Istanbul there are many stray cats. And with many I mean probably hundreds of thousands or more than a million maybe. There are also some stray dogs - all of whom look sad and all of whom are large dogs. Some are as large as a small Indian cow. Practically all stray dogs have an ear tag, indicating that they have been vaccinated and spayed.
The majority of the population seem to be fond of the cats (not everyone is fond of them), and many people feed the cats.

The role of non-human animals:
The role of non-human animals is probably the same in Turkey as elsewhere, despite the fact that many people treat stray cats with some sort of sympathy.
On the Princes' Islands horses are used for transport (mostly for tourists, no cars allowed). Good for the air quality, bad for the horses.

Horse-drawn tourist carriage on Heybeliada

Slogans for environmental protection on Heybeliada:
"Protect the natural environment"
"Let's respect their right to life"
"Protect the living spaces"
"Prevent illegal hunting"
"Let's see the world through their eyes"

If you are walking along the small streets inside of a particular neighbourhood the traffic is OK. Like in any inner city the streets are overcrowded with people, of course. In between the different small neighbourhood there are huge motorway-like roads. It is often difficult to cross these mega-roads and the air pollution approaches levels similar to big roads in huge cities in India.

Air pollution:

If you are within certain neighbourhoods the air pollution is at least not noticeably terrible. And right at the water front the air quality is probably good.
According to the WHO website BreatheLife2030 the air pollution in Istanbul is at 330% of the safety limit (WHO guideline), i.e. it is more than three times higher than that safety limit.
For comparison:
London, UK: 110%
Berlin, Germany: 170%
Paris, France: 140%
Madrid, Spain: 110%
Rome, Italy: 180%
New York City, USA: 70% (i.e. 30% below the safety limit)
Los Angeles; USA: 120%
Moscow, Russia: 200%
Ankara, Turkey: 470%

The noticeable air pollution while walk through the streets is not just from cars, but also from the very high number of people smoking. The percentage of people smoking seemed to be higher on the Asian side (but I might be wrong). Interestingly I didn't see any advertising for cigarettes. The market is probably already saturated. Often it seems like almost every single person is chain smoking all day long. Add to this the kestane roasters ... and not noticeable but deadly air pollution from industry and factory farming.

Surfaces and terrain:
Istanbul is not called the City of Seven Hills (Yeditepelişehir; "yedi" = seven; "tepe" = hill; "şehir" = city) for nothing, even though it often seems more like 700 very steep hills. The terrain is often rough, and sidewalks are often partly missing, chopped up or blocked by parking cars, big holes, intentional rubbish bin spaces, big rocks, building sites, trees or houses ... also people and cats. Most surfaces are not skateable, and many areas are problematic for cycling.

Talking about surfaces, this is one of the best skate parks anywhere. Maltepe (Asian side). The hugae park along the water front in Maltepe has everything you can think of, including a "dirt bike hill park" and a velodrome.

Recycling containers do exist in many parts of the city. Recycling is possible. In addition many young foreign men from mostly Afghanistan roam the city with huge plastic sacks on trolleys (probably old 800 kg pesticide bags), sifting through the regular rubbish bins for recyclable materials like plastic and paper which they then sell (somewhere) for (likely) ridiculously low amounts of money.

Addresses are written like that: Neighbourhood name ("mahallesi" means "neighbourhood"), big street name, actual street name No: 3/10 ... 3 in this example would be the house number, and 10 would be the apartment number. This does not give you any information on which floor the apartment is. However, in my experience apartment 1 and 2 were often in the basement. Also note that Google maps is often a bit off in Istanbul when tracking your position.

Malls and mosques usually have free toilets. Sometimes the toilets in mosques are not free. Metro stations usually have toilets and you can pay with the IstanbulKart.

Special places to visit:

Çarşamba Pazarı (meaning: Wednesday market): Only on Wednesdays. A big outdoor market in Fatih. Probably one of the oldest and largest outdoor markets in Istanbul. In one of the most conservative areas in Istanbul (many women in burkas etc., kind of like East London). This market is around the Fatih Mosque, around the street Fevzi Paşa Cd.

Çarşamba neighbourhood: Where Çarşamba Pazarı is, or for example around Darüşşafaka Cd. One of the most traditional (conservative) neighbourhoods in Istanbul

Bulgarian Orthodox Church ("iron church") in Balat, Fatih
Address: Balat Mahallesi, Mürselpaşa Cd., No:10, Fatih/İstanbul ... Note: Hüner restaurant is nearby (see above)

Eyüp neighbourhood, including the cemetery, or rather the plaques with pieces of wisdom from Islam on the walls around the cemetery [Note: I do not endorse Islam or any other kind of religion, or any kind of other form of blind faith.] Relatively conservative neighbourhood with many Syrian and other Arabic-speaking immigrants.
Eyüp cemetery plaque

Walk from down the European side of the Bosporus from Bebek (Bebek ferry dock) to Beşiktaş (Beşiktaş ferry dock). Note: Technically Bebek is a part of Beşiktaş, but you see what I mean. From the Starbucks in Bebek you have a great view onto the Bosporus [I do not endorse Starbucks]. Note that the 100% vegan restaurant Bi Nevi Deli is relatively close-by.

Istanbul Modern, art museum (Beyoğlu, European side): Small art museum. For foreigners the entry fee is 55 liras, and 35 liras for students. I’m not a fan of their racist India-style admission charge policy, and the exhibitions were not amazing. The photography exhibition was closed (without notice). On Thursdays the entry is free for Turkish nationals, meaning that the museum is full of school children. If you as a foreigner go, it’s probably better to not go on a Thursday.

"The artist reminds viewers of social attitudes regarding the powerful and the powerless, and the contradiction in how even though these beings are associated with positive identifiers and importance, they are also subjected to violence and slaughtered."

Bariş Manço museum (Kadıköy; entry fee: 10 liras): Apparently, Bariş Manço is a legendary figure in Turkish culture who was a painter, singer, and TV personality. He traveled the world and introduced foreign cultures to the Turkish people, while introducing Turkish culture to people around the world.
Bariş Manço museum front garden with plastic vegetables

Painting in Bariş Manço museum (not sure if he painted that, probably not)

Bariş Manço with orangutan

Vegan nutrition:
The vegans I met seem to generally be aware that vegans need to consume reliable sources of B12. One friend is using a sublingual vitamin B12 spray which I also saw being sold at Vegan Dükkan.
Vitamin B12 in a pharmacy ("Pharmacy" is "eczane" in Turkish. You'll see them everywhere.)

Many typical vegan calcium sources do not seem to be widely available in Istanbul. No one drinks tap water and the mineral water is typically low in calcium. Tofu and fortified soya milk are available in some places. Soya milk is quite expensive and likely consumed in only very low amounts by local vegans. Calcium-rich low oxalic acid green leafy vegetables (like nettles, Collard greens) are available but might not be eaten in sufficient amounts by local vegans. I saw (what I think were) Collard greens at Çarşamba Pazarı in Fatih. I also saw spinach and chard - which are NOT good sources of calcium. I didn't see pak choi, kale or broccoli raab. Broccoli and Napa cabbage are available, and mustard greens, turnip greens, and dandelion greens are likely also available somewhere - but these aren't necessarily practical everyday calcium sources for (all) city-dwelling vegans. Oranges and figs are available everywhere and their intake should be encouraged - even though they are not the richest calcium sources, they are relevant sources ... if you eat them. The vegan movement in Turkey should look for good sources of calcium for vegans. Maybe a company can start making a calcium fortified plant milk.
"Kara lahana" is used for both kale and Collard greens if I understand this correctly. This looks like Collard greens (at Çarşamba Pazarı in Fatih):
Chard at the top, Collard greens at the bottom
Vitamin D can be obtained from sunshine if one goes out into the sun. Iodized salt should be used. Use of non-iodized salt (including all salt marketed with esoteric gimmicks like Himalaya hokus pokus salt) should be discouraged. Omega-3-rich foods might not be eaten in ideal amounts by Turkish vegans. Use of omega-3-rich foods like walnuts should be encouraged. I did not see any chia seeds, linseeds (flax), hemp seeds, or rapeseed oil. Olive oil is widely used - which is great - but it's not a good source of omega-3s.
Tea (and possibly coffee) is widely consumed with meals. This is not ideal for the absorption of iron and zinc. Vegan children should avoid drinking tea with meals (and should avoid coffee). Vegan menstruating women should avoid drinking tea with meals if they have iron deficiency. Vegan men might benefit from better zinc absorption (which is good, because zinc is lost with semen) if they avoid drinking tea with meals, however, it seems likely that vegan men in Turkey generally eat a lot of zinc-rich foods, namely legumes and nuts and seeds. Selenium might or might not be a relevant nutrient to pay attention to. For vitamin A green and orange vegetables should be eaten. For protein legumes should be eaten daily.
For more precise information, see my vegan nutrition recommendations here in Turkish and in English.

Vegan and animal rights related books in Turkish I saw. Note that some are translations from English, and some are Turkish original publications. Note that this is not a commentary regarding the contents of these books. However: Tom Regan (may he always be remembered) is worth reading.

Vegan and animal rights related graffiti:

Stop the violence, start with your plate

"Vegan ol" means "be vegan". "Vegan öl" means "die vegan".

A still recognizable "VEGAN OL"

"Yumurta" means "egg". "Yumurta ye" means "eat eggs".

Poster for a "vegan day" ("bir gün" means "one day") in Kadıköy with a film, presentations and workshops

Drug stores:
I didn't explore drug stores but I saw this vegan logo (bottom left) at a Gratis (probably the most common drugstore chain) near Taksim Square.

Biscuits: I didn't look for biscuits, but I saw these vegan biscuits at Carrefour.

I didn't investigate vegan shoes but I saw some all synthetic Vans that I hadn't seen before (the material looked like cheap polyurethane, that isn't very durable) at the Vans Store near Taksim Square. I think all men's shoes I saw at the very big Carrefour at the Nautilus Shopping Mall in Kadıköy were synthetic, relatively cheap, and made in Turkey.

Look out for the word vegan, especially in Kadıköy, Beşiktaş, Beyoğlu and the touristy parts of Fatih

Slaughter data from Turkey (FAOSTAT 26 November 2018):

Numbers of animals slaughtered in Turkey in 2016 (latest data available) (FAOSTAT 26 November 2018)
Meat, buffalo
Meat, camel
Meat, cattle
Meat, chicken
Meat, duck
Meat, goat
Meat, goose and guinea fowl
Meat, horse
Meat, pig
Meat, rabbit
Meat, sheep
Meat, turkey

Number of chickens slaughtered in 2016:

The two countries that slaughter the highest number of chickens in Europe compared with Turkey (FAOSTAT 26 November 2018)

United Kingdom




Number of chickens slaughtered in Turkey per year (1961 to 2016) (FAOSTAT 26 November 2018)

Prevalence of obesity and overweight among adults in Turkey (WHO 2016):
Overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2): ~ 67% 
Obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2): ~ 32%

Thank you very much to everyone who helped me out!