Covert surveillance can be made through unexpected ways, especially in conflict areas. Villagers in Turkey know it well, so they look at anything not-so common around them with suspicion.
That’s why a poor migratory bird was dragged into a case of spying. The frenzy around the case even prompted a counter terrorism squad to get involved.
In a South-Eastern Turkish village, the villagers raised alarm when they saw a common European bee-eater lying dead in the field. The cause for alarm was that the little bird had a metal ring around its leg which was stamped ‘Israel’.
Suspicious villagers examined the bird and they found its nostrils were unusually bigger. The conspiracy theorists in the village suspected that the bird was part of an Israeli spying plot and that the bird had microchips implanted in its nostrils to carry out a surveillance mission.
Police were alerted and experts rushed to the spot to carry out a detailed examination. After a thorough check at the regional office of the Turkish Agricultural Ministry, they found that the bird was safe.
The ministry informed the public that it is usual to attach rings to migratory birds to track their movements. The authorities had hard time convincing the villagers and the local police to believe that explanation.
Due to the deteriorated nature of the relationship between Turkey and Israel, there are many takers for such conspiracy theories on both sides of the border. Mossad may send even birds for spying, but we don’t think the agency will mark them with rings so that people can return them to the agency’s office.