Mehmet Ali Agca

Article

May 22, 2022

Mehmet Ali Ağca (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈaːdʒa]; born 9 January 1958) is a Turkish assassin of Kurdish origin who killed the leftist journalist Abdi pekçi on February 1, 1979, and then the assassination attempt shot and injured Pope John Paul II on February 1, 1979. May 13, 1981, after he escaped from prison in Turkey. After serving 19 years in prison in Italy, where he was visited by the Pope and converted to Christianity, he was deported to Turkey, where he served a 10-year sentence. He was released on 18 January 2010. Ağca describes himself as a mercenary with no political orientation, although he is known to be a member of the Gray Wolves, a Turkish ultranationalist organization. On 27 December 2014, 33 years after his crimes, Mehmet Ali Ağca made a public appearance at the Vatican to place white roses on the recently canonized tomb of Saint John Paul II and said that he wanted to meet Pope Francis, but his request was not fulfilled. Background Mehmet Ali Ağca was born in Hekimhan District, in the Province of Malatya, Turkey. As a teenager, Ağca was a petty criminal and a member of a street gang in his hometown. He later became a smuggler in the trade between Turkey and Bulgaria. Ağca then traveled to Syria where he received two months of training in terrorist weaponry and tactics. After this exercise he joined the far-right Turkish group, the Gray Wolves, which at the time were trying to destabilize the Turkish government. In 1979, Ağca killed Abdi pekçi, an editor of a newspaper in Istanbul on the orders of the Gray Wolves. He was captured but managed to escape with the help of the Gray Wolf. Plan against the Pope Ağca then fled to Bulgaria, and in August 1980, he began crossing the Mediterranean region. He entered Rome on 10 May 1981 via train from Milan. In Rome he claims to have met three of his colleagues, two Bulgarians and a Turk. The plan was for Ağca, and her backup shooter Oral Celik to fire from St. Peter's Square and then detonate a bomb to trigger panic so they could flee to the Bulgarian embassy. But after Ağca shoots, Celik panics and runs away. After the shooting, John Paul asked people to "...pray for my brother (Ağca), whom I have sincerely forgiven." In 1983, two days after Christmas, on December 27, 1983, the Pope visited the killer in the Italian prison where Ağca was being held. . The two of them chatted and talked for a while. After this meeting, the Pope then said: "What we talk about must be a secret between him and me. When speaking with him I consider him a brother whom I have forgiven and I have complete trust in." The motive for Ağca's attempted murder is unclear. He once said that while in Bulgaria he was met by members of the Bulgarian Secret Service and offered 3 million Marks to kill the Pope but this he later denied. There are also those who say that there was involvement of the Soviet secret service, the KGB. Ağca once said "For me [the Pope] is the epitome of capitalism."

Back to Turkey

After his arrest, Ağca was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was granted clemency by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in June 2000. Ağca returned to Turkey, where he was imprisoned for the murder of Abdi pekçi. On 12 January 2006, Ağca was released from a Turkish prison after serving his sentence. On his release he was greeted with joy by a group of nationalist supporters at the prison gates. [1] About a week later, on January 20, Turkey's Supreme Court overturned the court's decision