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Could Not Figure Out What It Was

February 2003

Just three days ago I drove my wife and my 6 month old daughter to my mothers house to Izmit (some 90 kms away from Istanbul) so that my wife could help my mother pack up her private belongings before the movers came in to take away the furniture from her apartment, which she placed for sale in order to buy another apartment in Istanbul so she can be closer to her grandchildren (my nephew and my daughter who are born only a year apart) .

We had a good time together and since the next day (Monday) I was supposed to work I kissed my baby daughter, wife and Mom goodbye and hit the TEM (Trans European Motorway) to drive back to Istanbul. Now I have a pretty good car and the motorway is a freeway and at that time of the night it was quite empty. So I decided to just push the accelerator a bit further. So I was speeding at some 190 - 200 km's an hour. I was just entering a bridge (viaduct as we call it here in Turkey) so I eased the accelerator against any sudden gusts and keeping in mind that it started o drizzle and the road was getting wet. (After all I want to parent my baby longer and she needs me to grow up healthily). As my car slowed down to some 120-130 kmh, (BTW, my headlights were on high beams as there were no other cars to disturb and that area of the freeway does not have any light posts and is pitch dark) and I was halfway across the bridge, at the far end of the bridge this animal (or whatever) of some sort leapt into the freeway just from behind the barrier. It bounded accross the freeway. The fashion in which it was running was peculiar: it was arching its back as its head was still held low and between its shoulders. It had a shiny grey-silverish color. It had no tail. I hit the brakes in order to give it more time to get accross, since it was far bigger than I would probably dare hitting. Just as it got across the 4 lanes and reached the mid barriers, it stopped and rose on its hind feet. It stood just as a kangaroo would stand and looked around (well we do not have them in Turkey but we do have "Animal Planet" and "Discovery Channel" you know...). It stared at my headlights as though it was mesmerised for a few seconds. It's forelegs were long enough to touch it's knees. It's eyes reflected my headlights just as any cat's or dog's eyes would, in green. By then I had come as close as some 30 metres to it when I realised it had such a back as though it's vertebrae (spine) was exposed. It had this slight hunch while standing up and I would estimate that it was some 1.65 m. tall when it was erected like that. I was as close as 20 m. when it leapt accross the middle barrier and bounded accross the other side of the freeway which headed east. I had slowed down to a 50 kmh or so when I saw that a semi (18 wheeler) truck saw it too under it's own headlights. I know very well because I heard the blare of it's air horn in order to scare the animal (or creature ??) away as quickly as possible.

Now, the area surrounding the freeway is host to a huge industrial complex and several factories as well as the main storage of a major hypermarkets chain of Turkey. The main storage of that hypermarket chain alone sould have some 200 people working in it I assume and at that time of the night, there should be at least some 2,000 people working night shift around the area. So I doubt that animal would roam freely amongst the area under all that risk to be observed by thousands. I guess it was nocturnal since it had quite large eyes. It did not have any fur or hair as far as I could see. It was not any of the sort of fauna I know of at the least.

Turkey as many of you are well aware is a subtropic area and the average temperature during this season is some 2 to 4 degrees C in the nights. I doubt it was an exotic animal imported or whatsoever at large. (Well not at that area at least.) I told of the animal to my firends and everyone claimed it was a large dog. A large dog standing on it's hind legs and begging for food from a car bearing down on it at some 100 kmh ? That is one brave dog ! All others I had ever seem just stuck their tails between their legs and fled.

Whatever it was, I was spooked a bit after seeing it and am still trying to find out what it was. Until now the Internet offered no clue. If anyone has an idea, please post it.

Thank you.

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