Turkey has launched an investigation into a dead bird found by a local farmer that authorities claim may been a surveillance tool used by Israel.
According to reports in Israeli and Turkish media, a Merops Apiaster, known as the European Bee-Eater, was found dead with a ring that read “Israel” around one of its legs. It is common practice for birds to be marked with their country of origin in order for scientists to track migration routes but authorities became suspicious due to what they said were enlarged nostrils on the bird.
“Yoav Pearlman, of the Israeli Birdwatching Center, explained that Israel’s north is home to a large bee-eater population, and that many more use Israel as a stop in their migration route, which includes Turkey, southern Europe and Russia,” writes Ynet in Israel.
“The Turkish authorities can rest easy – it’s not a spy,” Pearlman told the paper.
In early 2011, Saudi Arabia found a bird marked with a tag that read “Tel Aviv University”, and later claimed it was part of the “Zionist espionage plot.”