Nest of spiesNest of spies

Turkey suspects bird was Israeli agent

Ankara security services search bee-eater’s nostrils for Mossad surveillance equipment

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

An example of a European bee-eater, not thought to be a Mossad agent. (photo credit: BY CC BY-SA Paco Gómez/Flickr)
An example of a European bee-eater, not thought to be a Mossad agent. (photo credit: BY CC BY-SA Paco Gómez/Flickr)

Turkish authorities are examining the carcass of a European bee-eater on suspicion that the bird was spying for Israel, Turkish websites and media have reported in the past couple of days.

The story, which hit Israel’s Yediot Ahronoth on Tuesday, has apparently been reported seriously in Turkey — an indication of the dire state of Turkish-Israeli relations, and an apparent readiness to give credibility to even the most outlandish assertions of Israeli iniquity.

Of particular interest to the authorities, the media reports say, were the dead bird’s nostrils, one of which is larger than the other, leading to suspicions that Mossad surveillance equipment was implanted in the beak.

The big-nosed spy-bird saga began when a 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 the bird’s leg.

Ornithologist often attach tracking bands to the legs of birds in order to learn about their flight paths and migratory travels.

The Turkish Agriculture Ministry handed over the small corpse to Ankara’s security services for further investigation.

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