Daily Israel Report

Turks Breathe Sigh of Relief: 'Spy Bird' Not a Spy, After All

After much study and careful consideration, Turkey feels safe in declaring that a bird that flew in from Israel is just a bird, not a spy
By David Lev
First Publish: 7/26/2013, 3:42 PM

Bird catches fish from the Kinneret
Bird catches fish from the Kinneret
Flash 90

After much study, careful consideration, consultation with top academics, and a little bit of hope and faith, Turkish authorities have cleared a bird captured in the village of Altınavya of spying for Israel. Despite its “Zionist affectations,” and the fact that it clearly came from Israel, the bird is just that – a bird, and not a spy, the officials have decided.

The bird – a kestrel – was “outed” by residents of Altınavya in May 2012, after a resident who examined it noticed that it was sporting a metallic ring, on which were etched the words “24311 Tel Avivunia Israel.” As a loyal Turk, the resident, fearing the worst, delivered the bird to local authorities. These, too, did not know what to make of the bird, and fearing a mass invasion of Israeli spy birds, transferred the bird to higher authorities in the army.

The military authorities for the past year have run various tests on the bird, including several at Turkey's Firat University, to ensure that it did not carry microchips or other hidden to the eye devices that could be used to spy on Turkey. X-Rays and numerous other tests checked out – indeed, the bird was just a bird. But apparently some officials at Firat University were not convinced; they marked the bird's file “Israeli spy,” leading to all manner of bureaucratic complications, as officials who saw the file assumed the worst.

In the end, though, the bureaucracy set itself aright, and authorities admitted that the bird was just what Tel Aviv University researchers said it was – a bird that they had been tracking to determine its migratory habits. Turkish authorities released the bird earlier this week, but not before thanking the villager who “reported” the bird in the first place, and holding him up as an example of the vigilance needed when dealing with Mossad spies and the like.