A family, who owns a house where a notorious Greek outlaw reportedly buried his wealth decades ago, launched an excavation to find "the treasure."
The excavation, approved by local authorities, aims to dig up jewelry and other valuable items the bandit, known as Kostas "The Knifesmith," looted from the local Turkish population in Yalova, a province south of Istanbul. The bandit was among many Greek outlaws active in the 1920s in Yalova during its occupation by Greek forces.
The identity of the family and the location of excavation are kept secret but the family's lawyer Fatma Seçil Can says that the house was scheduled for demolition anyway as it was an old building and her client sought to verify whether the urban legend about the bandit was true.
"They were given 10 days for excavation and if they come across a tangible find, they will be given an additional time," she said.
If the family finds treasure, half of finds will be given to the state under Turkish laws while the family will be granted the other half.
Local historian Muhsin Sevencan says the treasure of Kostas was cited in many historical documents about the city's history.
"Yalova was occupied by Greeks in November 1920 and they stayed here for about 11 months. By the time they withdrew, there was barely any Turkish population left. Armenian and Greek gangs operating here were involved in killing and robbing Turks. They looted their victims' valuable belongings. Kostas "The Knifesmith" was heading such a gang. We don't know his fate but it is rumored that he buried what he stole somewhere in the city," Sevencan said.
He said some Greeks living in the city who left Yalova during a post-war population exchange between Turkey and Greece had buried their belongings [jewelry, et cetera], hoping that they would return one day.