JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—Turkish security authorities are probing the remains of a small bird, a European bee-eater, they suspect was on a spying mission for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. Seriously.
Israel’s Yediot Aharonot daily reported the story on Tuesday from the Turkish media, which have been giving it wide play. The story appears to be another indication of how bad Turkish-Israeli relations have become, especially since the Turks are taking it seriously.
The spy-bird saga began when a Turkish farmer found the dead Merops Apiaster, or European bee-eater, on his land and alerted authorities after noticing a band inscribed with the word “Israel” on one of its legs. Despite such a band being a common tracking device used by ornithologists to determine migratory patterns, the Israel label was seen as evidence of espionage.
The Turkish media reported ominously that one of the dead bird’s nostrils was larger than the other, leading to the conclusion that tiny Mossad surveillance equipment was implanted in its beak. Ankara’s security services are still investigating.