An Ottoman soldier entrusted a Palestinian man during World War I with a large sum of money but never returned for it after the war.

Al Aloul family kept money in an iron safe deposit box for an unnamed Ottoman soldier for over a century.
Al Aloul family kept money in an iron safe deposit box for an unnamed Ottoman soldier for over a century. (AA)

A Palestinian family has returned a sum of money entrusted to them by an Ottoman soldier during World War I to the Turkish authorities in an unprecedented move. 

In a ceremony on Thursday in Nablus, north of the occupied West Bank, the Al Aloul family presented the money to Turkey's Consul General Ahmet Riza Demirer. 

The family said the soldier had requested they keep his money safe during the war that witnessed the end of Turkish rule for Palestine, saying: "If we return, I will take it back."

The consul general expressed his gratitude to the Palestinian family for keeping the valuables for a long time, stressing that the Palestinian and Turkish people have so much to share. 

"Our division 100 years ago was an administrative one but our hearts are always together," Demirer said.

Demirer told Al Jazeera Arabic the money will be moved to the Jerusalem Consulate General Of Turkey in cooperation with the Palestinian government. He said it was the first time that trust funds were given back to Turkey by any Arab or regional country.

A trust kept

Raghib Helmi Al Aloul said the Ottoman soldier's money was entrusted to his uncle Omar Al Aloul.

“He gave it to my uncle, and until this day, the money remained with us. We don’t know if the Turkish soldier died in the war or died afterwards. And we don’t know his name as my uncle forgot it”.

Al Aloul said the money amounts to 152 Ottoman liras, a sum Turkish historians say had the value of $30,000 at the time.

The money was kept in an iron safe deposit box inside the family factory.

The key to that safe kept in another location. 

The Ottomans ruled Palestine from 1516 until 1917 when they were forced out by the British. 

READ MORE: Ottoman Palestine records present obstacle for Israeli land grab policies 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies