Didn’t know NATO was in the personal-protection business? Neither did NATO.
Istanbul vendors selling watches, knives and batteries from folding tables are offering a product bound to surprise the NATO officials who regularly visit the city: pressurized canisters of “American Style NATO Super-Paralisant.”
Also known as pepper spray, the 40-milliliter bottles of “CS-Gas Silliarde” claim to be made in Germany. But the G.I. Joe-look is 100-percent American.
It’s unclear how much demand there is for the spray in a city where the crime rate is relatively low.
One merchant in an underpass in the Eminönü neighborhood said he first saw the product – which he sells at the competitive price of 6 Turkish lira (roughly $3.50) – about two years ago. He laughed when told the slogan on the carton, which reads “Body Protect Aerosol Type,” could be misunderstood as a different type of defense: We were thinking deodorant.
But don’t be alarmed: NATO isn't arming the Turkish population. A spokesman in Brussels confirmed to EurasiaNet.org that the spray is “not a NATO product.”